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Lights Out Las Cruces



Located about 50 miles west of downtown Phoenix, Palo Verde is the nation's largest nuclear plant, supplying electricity to some 4 million customers including residents of Las Cruces, New Mexico. El Paso Electric owns a 15.8% interest in each of the three nuclear generating units at Palo Verde and gets 52% of its energy from nuclear power. Keep in mind that “Palo Verde has been plagued by outages and equipment problems for the past several years.” according to Associated Press reports in April, 2007.

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, Mohamed Atta, mastermind of the attack on the World Trade Center Towers, said that the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant was the initial priority target and that the terrorists erroneously assumed that it could not be penetrated by a crashing airplane. However, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) the spent nuclear fuel pools at Indian Point are in Butler Shacks, which are not hardened, and no more protected than a K Mart.

On April 9, 2007, Mohammad Alavi, a former engineer at the Palo Verde nuclear power plant was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport when he arrived on a flight from Iran. Alavi has been charged with taking computer access codes and software to Iran including details of plant control rooms and reactors. Although he is only charged with trade embargo violation, Alavi is being held without bail. Arizona Public Service Co., which operates Palo Verde says they now have changed procedures to prohibit former employees from accessing software when they leave the company. No such procedure was in place when Alavi quit last August. According to the FBI, the software contractor for Palo Verde was not notified when Alavi resigned, so they didn't try to restrict his access. Consequently, the software system was accessed using the Palo Verde user ID in Tehran.

The Mayor of Las Cruces and five of six City Councilors have voted in favor of a development that could double the population of the City. There was no discussion of how these homes will be powered and whether they will be built to energy efficiency standards. Reducing demand with distributed generation of solar electricity and solar hot water was not discussed. EPE promotes all electric homes, refrigerated air conditioning, and gives discounts for energy intensive electric heating. Without changes, the demand for electricity much of it transmitted from the Palo Verde Station will skyrocket.

An international electrical expert speaking in Las Cruces said that a study by the International Electronics and Electrical Engineering Association (IEEE) determined that electrical generation and transmission is the infrastructure most vulnerable to terrorist attack. “If Palo Verde goes down, its lights out Las Cruces.” he said.

Comments

(Anonymous)

How blithely misinformation is passed off as if true, when speaking of things nuclear. Mohammed Atta, and 19 of his group were incinerated on 9/11/01, and so their posthumous revelations about "really wanting Indian Point instead" are absolute fabrications, trotted out to bolster fading antinuke beliefs....mythmaking to build community.

Atta's group were finishing the job begun in 1993 with the Ramsi Yussuf bombing of the twin towers.At no time did they consider attacking Indian Point, which in fact, DOES have strong enough walls to resist an aircraft.

(Had they attacked Indian Point, many lives would have been spared, there are only about 50 people in the plant at any one time.)

The so-called "K-mart fuel pools" are impossible to see from the air, and no airliner could fly the twisting flight vectors that would be required to hit them, as they are not on an open side of IP, but are hidden between a cliff and the domes, and are below ground.

As far as an Iranian stealing computer access, any computers that are accessible in that manner-- via windows, the internet, etc. are NOT vital plant computers. Any control circuits are absolutely isolated from the internet, and run on proprietary non-windows operating systems. So Iran could have hacked into plant email, or looked at the photos of the Palo Verde softball outing, but not much else.

But the myths are exciting to concoct, so I guess we'll continue to be plagued by them.

Have a nice day.

Harry Springer