Tags: nuclearpowerplant | drones | nrc | fbi

Report: Swarm of Drones Invaded Nation's Largest Nuclear Power Plant Last Year

Report: Swarm of Drones Invaded Nation's Largest Nuclear Power Plant Last Year
A Hermes V8MT drone of Polish firm Spartaqs on November 20, 2019. (Wojtek Radwanski/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Saturday, 01 August 2020 01:16 PM

A swarm of unmarked drones last year invaded the nation’s largest nuclear power plant, but investigators were unable to determine who was behind the incidents.

That raises questions about potential security weaknesses and legal loopholes where the act is not considered explicitly illegal, according to a report released Wednesday by The Drive.

The FBI was contacted last September after mysterious drones flew over the Palo Verde Generating Station, operated by the Arizona Public Service, according to documents produced by the U.S. government as part of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Douglas Johnson with the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies.

The Drive, a website devoted to automotive news and launched by Time Inc., said officials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission described the incident as a “drone-a-palooza” and highlighted concerns about the potential for a future “adversarial attack” and the need for defenses against them.

The article also suggested that the U.S. military and federal agencies are far behind in addressing, and preventing, drone attacks as unmanned aircraft systems are increasingly used as weapons around the world.

Guards at the plant described drones about two feet across flying 200-300 feet overhead at around 8:50 p.m. on Sept. 29. The aircraft loitered for more than an hour.

The next night, four drones flew over the plant at 8:51 p.m., this time without spotlights. Officials contacted the FBI, the FAA and the Department of Homeland Security about the incident.

NRC spokesman David McIntyre on Thursday said the organization wasn’t concerned about drones damaging or interfering with nuclear plants.

"The NRC believes there are currently no risk-significant vulnerabilities to nuclear power plants that could be exploited by adversarial use of commercial drones to result in radiological sabotage, or theft or diversion of special nuclear material," he said Thursday, according to AZ Central.

Additionally, it isn’t clear whether the pilots of the drones are violating any laws or regulations by flying over the plant, according to the report.

"Since drones are aircraft and they are not violating a law, what is the action that can be taken legally if they locate the operator?" Mark Lombard, the Deputy Director of NRC's Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response, asked in an email.

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A swarm of drones last year invaded the nation's largest nuclear power plant, but investigators were unable to determine who was behind the incidents...
nuclearpowerplant, drones, nrc, fbi
370
2020-16-01
Saturday, 01 August 2020 01:16 PM
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