9/11 brought extra security measures at TVA nuclear plants, federal buildings

Photo by Dave Flessner / This file photo shows Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant on the Tennessee River near Soddy-Daisy.
Photo by Dave Flessner / This file photo shows Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant on the Tennessee River near Soddy-Daisy.

The Tennessee Valley Authority's power headquarters in Chattanooga is more than 600 miles away from where terrorists flew into the twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C., 20 years ago.

But as America's biggest public power utility and one of the nation's largest operators of nuclear power plants, TVA continues to respond to the 9/11 attacks as a potential target of terrorism.

"Sept. 11, 2001, changed the world for everyone, but especially for those of us responsible for the security of federal installations and infrastructure," TVA spokesperson Jim Hopson said. "Following 9/11, the way we went about ensuring the safety of employees and facilities became an even more critical part of everyday life."

After the 9/11 attacks, TVA added more layers of physical and procedural protection to its power plants, transmission facilities and even its offices, including:

- Adding increased surveillance of individuals entering any TVA facilities through more advanced X-ray and metal detection capabilities.

- Expanding remote monitoring capabilities at all TVA properties through advanced video, sensors and intrusion protection systems.

- Changing the focus of TVA's federal law enforcement officers to augment physical security and to improve the ability of TVA to more rapidly respond to critical incidents.

- Increased police and security presence at TVA events to better ensure public safety.

(Read more 9/11 20th anniversary coverage from the Times Free Press here)

TVA has also strengthened partnerships with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Protective Service. Hopson said such measures provide "a greatly expanded intelligence gathering and analysis capability to more quickly identify and respond to any potential threats," regardless of where they came from.

"9/11 was a harsh wake-up call, and one we must never forget, even well after the 20th anniversary," Hopson said. "The security improvements driven by the lessons learned from that tragic day have made TVA much safer and better prepared today."

Government agencies created after 9/11 include the Department of Homeland Security, which consolidated other agencies, including the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. According to The Washington Post, more than 263 government organizations were either created or reorganized following the attacks. The Coast Guard, Transportation Security Administration and Border Patrol budgets have all more than doubled since 2001.

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