Scott D. Portzline has researched sabotage and terrorism protection of nuclear power plants since 1984. His research has been cited by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and The Center for International and Strategic Affairs. He has testified in hearings to the U.S. Senate and several other governmental bodies. His academic-style research along with his citizen activism has helped to resolve problems with security vulnerabilities at U.S. nuclear plants and with radioactive materials in the U.S..
Some of his recommendations have been carried out at U.S. nuclear plants. His recognition that truck bomb "setback distances" were insufficient and his diligence to pursue the correction of this security gap paid off when the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) finally adopted the proper distances after more than a decade of pressure.
The Homeland Security News Wire reported in 2010 that Portzline alerted the DHS to a sensitive document available online which served as a virtual how-to manual for attacking a nuclear plant with an airplane. It "has been removed from the sites at the request of Three Mile Island Alert, a mid-state watchdog group."
In 2004, Portzline brought to national attention how an NRC database which was accessible to anyone via the internet, could be used by terrorists to learn the precise location of dangerous radioactive materials used in industries, universities and hospitals. His efforts resulted in the NRC’s purging of hundreds of sensitive pages from public access.
In 1995, he began studying the problems of lost and stolen nuclear materials within the U.S. after discovering no other citizen was "watch-dogging" this concern. Portzline has maintained a database of lost and stolen nuclear materials in the U.S and has successfully lobbied for stricter controls.
The Pittsburg Post Gazette said Portzline was "eerily prophetic" in his news release sent three days before the 9/11 attacks. Portzline was in opposition to many academics who believed that the goal of terrorist attacks is fear. "The 1990s have shown that terrorism is no longer just about instilling fear or gaining attention for a particular ideology. Some terrorists are now seeking a large body count. Clearly, adequate protection of nuclear power plants is a matter of national security.