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NRC Chairman Responds to Time Article on Nuclear Plant Security

The NRC has just published a letter (PDF) from its Chairman, Nils Diaz, commenting on Time's report from earlier this week on nuclear plant security:
The article unfortunately relies on opinion without an accurate picture of current plant defenses and strategies. The NRC has ordered these plants to take strong defensive measures that make them well prepared to protect the facilities. Moreover, the NRC has worked closely with law enforcement and security agencies at all levels of government in developing protective measures and an integrated response. The story also cites an out-of-date study conducted for other purposes that does not reflect present knowledge of nuclear plant capabilities and accident scenarios. Such scenarios indicate that the potential consequences are orders of magnitude less than described.

The American people should know that these plants are well protected with multiple layers of defenses to ensure safety and security. This agency vigorously monitors plant security to ensure our homeland is well protected.
For our previous posts on this topic, click here and here.

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Anonymous said…
Not a surprising response. However, there are many real, serious and well known security issues at NRC facilities. Providing security commensurate with the potential threat and consequences does not seem to have adequate management support. The cost seems to have been deemed unacceptable. Yet it also seems the pressure is mounting from the public, private business and political sectors. This Tsunami may just be beginning to build. This is certainly not the end of the debate.

For one relatively small but important point: How can anyone legitimately believe that it is reasonable to have the company responsible for providing security at these nuclear power plants also be the one "responsible" for testing that same security? How would it go over at said company if the the testing group found serious flaws in the security their company is providing? Sure, they would be honest and report that and keep all the relevant stakeholders fully informed! Sure they would! (Want to buy a bridge?) Seriously, even if they would do the right thing and do a good job, who would truly believe it? Appearances are very important in this business and that kind of arrangement does not give off the appearance of objectivity or independence both of which are also extremely important when it comes to testing, auditing or inspecting organization.

The application of the DBT and the testing of security forces is very serious and important business and the use of outdated tactics, practices, equipment and intelligence is not "taking strong defensive measures."

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