Skip to main content

NRC Rebuts Daily Caller on Nuclear Plant Security

Just a few minutes ago, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a statement rebutting a story that appeared yesterday at the Daily Caller concerning security at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant:
There have been several recent news stories contending that security is lax at the nation’s nuclear power plants. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, they are among the best-protected sector of our national infrastructure.

NRC requires nuclear power plant owners to take a graded approach to physical protection focusing on the areas most important to safety. For example, the area encompassing a nuclear power plant and its safety equipment is the Protected Area. NRC regulations require stringent access control measures before personnel and vehicles can enter a Protected Area. Within the Protected Area are the Vital Areas, which have even more access barriers and alarms to protect important equipment. All plants are required to have security checkpoints into the Protected Area. The outermost area, or the Owner-Controlled Area, does not have the same access control requirements and can be accessible by the public.

In the recent news stories, a reporter was able to drive onto the owner-controlled area, but was not able to enter the protected area. Being able to drive around a parking lot does not mean security has been breached or that there was a danger to the public.

Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, the NRC has required numerous security enhancements at the nation’s nuclear plants. While the plants are secure, robust structures designed and built to withstand a variety of natural and man-made events, the agency ordered additional measures. For example, we strengthened requirements related to physical barriers, access controls, and intrusion detection and surveillance systems, as well as the existing well-trained and armed security officers. NRC regulations require plants be able to defend against an assault by multiple determined and capable adversaries attacking by land or water, truck bombs, boat bombs, insider threats and cyber attacks.

Finally, the NRC has an extensive security oversight program. The NRC reviews and approves a plant’s security plan. NRC inspectors conduct onsite inspections of personnel and equipment on an on-going basis to ensure our requirements are met. Force-on-force security inspections are another part of this program. In these inspections, a specially trained mock adversary force “attacks” the facility. Should NRC inspectors find deficiencies, they are corrected or compensated for before the inspectors leave the site.
Yesterday, we posted our own rebuttal.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …