Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Soldiers... with guns... in our streets - Forces Training for Domestic Deployment

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I'm a little slow on the uptake in catchin' this story. I come across it while lookin' fer news about nuclear power plants in Canada.

Military readies reservists for threats to 'domestic front'

Adrian Humphreys, National Post
Published: Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Reserve units across Canada are being trained in securing perimeters in case of an emergency.Master Cpl. Brian Walsh/DNDReserve units across Canada
are being trained in securing perimeters in case of an emergency.

The Canadian military has embarked on a wide-ranging plan to turn its reserve soldiers into focused units trained and equipped to respond to a nightmarish array of domestic threats, including terrorist "dirty bomb" attacks, biological agent containment, Arctic catastrophes and natural disasters.

The creation of seven units within each region of the country -- including unusual all-terrain vehicle (ATV) squadrons and perimeter security teams to cordon areas of potential devastation -- prepares reserve soldiers for operations on the "domestic front" while freeing regular force soldiers to concentrate on foreign battlefields.


What's that got to do with nuclear power plants?

"We all know the threat from dirty bombs, chemical contaminants. This is certainly one of the more dangerous situations that can arise," said Brig.-Gen. Collin.

"You can certainly get it from a terrorist act. You can also get it from a man-made disaster. You can get nuclear contamination from a nuclear power plant -- Three Mile Island, Chernobyl.

"We are training to establish a perimeter. Do I see a scenario when we might be obliged to keep people in? Probably. You need to be trained to be able to make sure that you don't become a casualty in the process of doing that security."

(Emphasis mine, JB)

The proponents of nuclear energy routinely dismiss concerns about security and the possibility of terrorist attacks and the problem of dirty bomb fuel being stored at power plants. The Canadian army is not so dismissive and is preparing for just such possibilities.

One of the more disturbing things in General Collin's quote is when he says that soldiers guarding a perimeter could be deployed to keep people inside the perimeter. If people happen to be in the 30KM radius of a nuclear accident, toxic leak or chemical warfare attack, I would hope the military would be deployed to get them out -- not to keep them in.

This is another example of the public picking up the tab for nuclear power plant security. How many military units will be needed to guard against contamination from windmills, solar panels and distributed hydro power?