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This Week: Nuclear Option
This Week
January 14, 2005

This week on NOW:

Potentially deadly targets for terrorists, America's nuclear power plants have been the focus of increased security efforts since 9/11. While the industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) say the nation's nuclear reactors are up to meeting the terrorist threat, the details are shrouded in secrecy. Critics believe the new security measures don't go far enough and that dangerous targets, including spent nuclear fuel rods stored outside the containment domes, remain exposed to attack, which could have devastating consequences. David Brancaccio investigates the state of security at the nation's nuclear power plants. The report evaluates how vulnerable the facilities are to terrorism and sheds light on the new security standards, which were developed in secret with little input from the public.

Josh Rushing was a spokesman for the Marines during the Iraq war, serving as the military's liaison to the controversial Arab news channel Al-Jazeera. When he returned home, he discovered that he was an unwitting player-a central character-in CONTROL ROOM, the blockbuster documentary that sparked a raging national debate about the network, which speaks to 40 million Arabs everyday. What Rushing said on camera made him a hero to some and a villain to others, including his superiors. David Brancaccio sits down with Rushing, who left the military in the wake of the controversy, for his take on whether or not Al-Jazeera is just a propaganda machine, or a valuable shaper of public opinion that is too powerful for the US to ignore. "Looking back on it," says Rushing, "Al-Jazeera may be a more important front in the war on terror than Iraq's the largest shaper of Arab opinion and perspective in the world."

In Depth

Nuclear Power Plant

Monitoring Nuclear Reactors

Environmental Security Resource Map

Hazardous Waste
Environmental Checklist for Your Neighborhood

Chemical Plant Safety After 9/11

Al-Jazeera and Arab Press Online

Former Marine Captain Josh Rushing

Exploring Foreign Opinion Online


Talk about the environment on the message boards.


Learn more about the issues discussed on NOW.

Read the complete transcript.

Streaming Video

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Nuclear Option (14:40)

David Brancaccio talks with Josh Rushing (8:48)


Nuclear Option
Producer: Peter Meryash
Editor: Kathi Black

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