Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station might soon be armed with more security guards, machine guns and other high-powered weaponry.
As part of continuing safety measures, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a rule that would help protect dry cask storage facilities where spent fuel rods are housed at nuclear plants.
The proposition doesn't come on the heels of any increased threats. Instead it's a precautionary measure, according to Neil Sheehan, NRC spokesman.
"We believe at this point our nuclear facilities are adequately protected," he said.
There are already armed guards at other parts of Peach Bottom, following regulations implemented after 9/11 that allowed plants to use enhanced weaponry and machine guns.
The new rule, which is subject to public comment and NRC approval, allows the same security measures to be taken at the storage facilities.
Peach Bottom, a plant in Delta that is owned by Exelon Generation, has a dry cask storage facility south of the nuclear reactors in Delta, but Three Mile Island in Dauphin County does not have such a facility, Sheehan said.
The facilities: Dry cask storage facilities are "very significant storage units" that weigh more than 100 tons, he said. They store spent fuel, which is the by-product of nuclear reactors. Though the spent fuel no longer produces steam to run the generators, it remains radioactive.
"It's very difficult to damage these structures, and anybody who would try would be in an extremely difficult proposition," Sheehan said.
The spent fuel is lethal upon exposure, he said.
There's no logical reason why someone would target such a facility, Sheehan said, "but terrorists do things to draw attention to their objectives, even if the outcomes don't make sense."
"We need to be on guard," he said.
Security now:Peach Bottom uses state-of-the-art technology and weaponry as part of its comprehensive strategy to keep its facilities safe, said Lacey Dean, spokeswoman for the plant.
The plant's security officers are full-time Exelon employees, all highly-trained paramilitary personnel qualified in force protection and antiterrorism techniques, she said.
Dean and Sheehan said they couldn't provide details on the weaponry at facilities because of security reasons.
"But I can confirm that our facility already received the highest level of security and protection as mandated by the (NRC)," Dean said.