Resource Terrorism Risk
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Hoover Dam represents hydroelectric plants with exposed inlet works. In this case, two pairs of towers, over four-hundred feet tall, direct water through massive thirty-foot penstocks. The water gets divided into tapered thirteen-foot penstocks terminating at the generator turbines.
Security for the dam is located within the structure to protect access to the generators. There are also security checkpoints five to ten miles north and south of the dam. Security for the inlet works? A single chain with a blue sign warning authorized personnel only beyond this point.
While there might be some security for the structure and ground access points, there is no security on Lake Mead. A ground crew can bring stowed handguns across the dam, and are thus armed to assault the bridges leading to the towers. Hundreds of pounds of explosives and assault rifles can be brought in from the water.
There is no security preventing it. A float line can be seen in the water (top-right) which repeats the authorized-persons warning. Any common jet boat skips over this obstacle. The boat itself provides the cabling and motor to lift whatever is needed onto the bridges leading to the towers.
Accessing the towers means rolling up a heavy steal shutter, or just breaking through a couple of cheap single pane windows. From here explosives can be dropped into the water inlet works to be taken to the generators. The penstocks feeding the turbines act as multi-barreled shotguns. The control vanes and shockwave bypass all other security measures.
While this makes nice theater, it is not really necessary. The inlet towers house the controls for the cylinder gates. These are dropped to stop water flow through the towers. The ground team now exits off the towers to leave with the boats.
The water team punches through the trash-racks and drops three fifty-pound backpacks of composition-A around each tower, a common and strong explosive found in mortars and mines. A porous border allows easy delivery. The three packs are distributed between alternating tower buttress supports and are contained within the gap between the trashracks and tower.
The explosions rupture all six buttress walls on one side of each tower. The evacuated water returns with a powerful punch to drive the heavy steel cylinder gate into the buttresses on the other side. Just like chopping down a tree, the towers come down. What better imagery to haunt NYC.
The loss of the towers and damage to the internal structure allows Lake Mead to drain out. Imagine the riots started in Los Angeles and Las Vegas region to get that last bottle of water. These cities experienced large population booms with the creation of Lake Mead, that took two years to fill.
Hoover Dam feeds power to the southwest. More importantly, it provides fresh drinking water. The loss of Lake Mead and the decade it takes to repair Hoover Dam, means the evacuation of half the population in these areas. The lift pumps are located along the westside of Lake Mead to feed these cities with billions of gallons of water per year.
A team of eight can destroy Hoover Dam in minutes while police assess the situation. Hoover Dam represents a resource-terrorism target.
Copyright © 2011 by John Gregorek