As other states enhance security at nuclear power plants through new laws, California?usually a leader in environmental protection and consumer safety?has handled the threat of nuclear plant terrorism merely by trying to plan a coordinated response by law-enforcement agencies in the event of a terrorist attack on a facility. ?There is not one agency in the state that is taking the lead when it comes to security,? said Eric Lamoureux, public affairs chief for the Office of Emergency Services. He added that he knew of no legislation that has been drafted or discussed to enhance security at California?s two operating and three closed nuclear reactors. ?Terrorism has been part of some of the exercises that have taken place,? said Lamoureux. Those exercises consist of multi-agency emergency-response drills aimed at preparing for an operational accident at a nuclear plant, but do not focus on terrorism. Ray Golden, spokesperson for Southern California Edison?s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, said, ?We?ve hired a significant increase in our security officer complement.? He noted that the company will spend tens of million of dollars this year on security enhancements, including new structural barriers and surveillance systems. Edison also runs quarterly security exercises in which terrorist attacks are simulated with the use of laser guns that let people know when there have been ?kills.? Golden, however, also said the utility is likely to support any new state legislation to upgrade arms for security guards and strengthen their legal authority, including clear authority to use lethal force. Much of the increased focus on security stems from Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements set out in January and April. Other states have passed nuclear security laws. In Texas, guards are given arrest and search and seizure authority, as well as civil immunity for using lethal force?both inside and outside plant boundaries. In New Jersey, guards can use body armor?piercing bullets. Legislation is pending in New York that would provide security guards at both the state?s nukes and other electric generating stations and grant them authority to make arrests, carry automatic weapons, and use deadly force. ?That?s where the guards were found sleeping,? said Jim Riccio, nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace. ?They should be insuring when there is an attack that the guards are up to the challenge.? More important than improving the caliber of plant security forces, according to Riccio, is to harden the nuclear facilities, making them impervious to terrorist attack?especially spent fuel. Both Edison, for its SONGS units, and Pacific Gas & Electric, for Diablo Canyon, have proposed transferring high-level radioactive waste from pools to on-site aboveground storage. However, those plans do not include the ?hardening? of the facilities that Riccio refers to. At SONGS, however, spent-fuel pools are currently below ground, which would make it very difficult for a terrorist to fire a shoulder-wielded missile through their walls to drain the water and create a radioactive fire, said Golden. Such a prospect is one of the most worrisome terrorism scenarios at nuclear plants. Federal legislation sponsored by Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) would require nuclear plant operators to demonstrate that they are prepared for potential terrorist attacks. The federal energy policy legislation, now in conference committee, includes security standards as well.