Nuclear Regulatory Commission memo warns of terrorist attack

January 23, 2002

Information assessment team advisory update for power reactors, non-power reactors, decommissioning reactors, category I and III fuel facilities, independent spent fuel storage installations, and large material licensees

Subject: update on threat environment — commercial aircraft

FBI headquarters has provided the following information to all field offices. During debriefings of an al Qaeda senior operative, he stated there would (be) a second airline attack in the U.S. The attack was already planned and three individuals were on the ground in the states recruiting non-Arabs to take part in the attack. The plan is to fly a commercial aircraft into a nuclear power plant to be chosen by the team on the ground. The plan including diverting the mission to any tall building if a military aircraft intercepts the plane. No specific timeline or location was given for the attack. As of 1/23/02, one NRC licensee, Columbia Generating Station, had been contacted by their local FBI representative. It is unknown whether other NRC licensee(s) will be contacted as well. FBI headquarters cannot at this time, provide a complete assessment of the credibility of the information. No additional actions are requested in response to this advisory at this time.

In the light of the continuing high level of threat, NRC reaffirms its request that any information regarding threats or suspicious activities should be reported immediately to the NRC operations center, 301-816-6100. This advisory does not supercede any previous advisories presently in effect. You will be advised of any pertinent changes as soon as possible.

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