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Our nuclear trucks, revealed

September 8, 2009

BlueTruck2Danger Room is reporting that an environmental group, Friends of the Earth, has recently published photos of the Energy Department’s nuclear ground transport fleet.  According to the FOE press release, the Energy Department has:

…A “specially designed part of an 18-wheel rig that incorporates various deterrents to prevent unauthorized removal of cargo. The trailer has been designed to protect the cargo against damage in the event of an accident.” And, “The thermal characteristics of the [transporter] would allow the trailer to be totally engulfed in a fire without incurring damage to the cargo. The tractors are standard production units that have been modified to provide the federal agents protection against attack. Escort vehicles accompany the tractor-trailers during transportation activities.”

FOE’s press release is interesting for a number of reasons:

1. These trucks seem to be indistinguishable from any regular 18-wheel rig in the US.

greenpeace-activists-beam-a-ta2. FOE is not as ludicrously short-sighted as, say French Greenpeace, in that they did not publish the names and shipping routes of these nuclear trucks and then try to call attention to the shipments through protest.  After all, if I were a bad guy and wanted to get a hold of nuclear materiel in continental Europe, all I would have to do is  go on Greenpeace’s website and then ambush the trucks — probably during a Greenpeace protest.

3. These US trucks seem to have a fair number of countermeasures built in, which is good.

4.  According to their report, FOE submitted their Freedom of Information Act request to the Energy Department on 11 July, and then presumably received their answer in early September.  An FOIA turnaround time of less than 2 months for declassified material is pretty quick!

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