Al Qaeda Remarks May Signal Attack

Earlier this year, NC WARN asked Cooper to order owner Progress Energy to stop shipping spent waste to the Harris plant pools, saying the rail transports themselves pose a terrorist risk.

But on Wednesday, Kelly said there is no evidence that Progress Energy violates any laws or regulations with its transports. The Attorney General's Office sees no reason to take action against them, although it will continue to seek out information regarding their safety.

"We're not hearing anything from local law enforcement that they are concerned," Kelly said. "There is nothing that indicates that there is an imminent threat to anyone."

Shearon Harris is believed to have the largest waste storage capacity of any nuclear power plant in the country and to be the only commercial plant that imports waste for storage.

NC WARN this week submitted more information to Cooper's office. Stan Goff, a retired U.S. Army master sergeant with experience in security assessments, evaluated the vulnerability to attack of the Progress transports.

While keeping some details confidential, Goff said he concluded that the trains, which travel about 200 miles from Eastern North Carolina to the Harris site, are highly vulnerable. The train tracks they travel on are embedded in a heavily forested corridor where it would be simple for attackers to hide themselves and explosives, said Goff, a former Army Special Operations member who now works for NC WARN as an organizer.

Keith Poston, a Progress Energy spokesman, said it's highly unlikely that anyone could ever reach fuel locked inside 70-ton casks on the guarded shipments, which occur about 10 times a year on unannounced dates.

—The Associated Press

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