Comprehensive Security Evaluation and Vulnerability Studies

Shortly after September 11, 2001, the NRC undertook a comprehensive reevaluation of the agency's safeguards and security program, regulations, and procedures, which resulted in numerous security improvements and ultimately led the agency to revise its adversary attributes in the design basis threats (DBTs) for radiological sabotage and theft of nuclear material.

The DBT identifies theoretical adversary force composition and characteristics against which the nuclear facility must be able to defend. The DBT applies to both nuclear power plants and certain nuclear fuel fabrication facilities.

Aircraft Attacks Following the deadly World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks in September 2001, the NRC conducted an extensive analysis of the potential threat to nuclear facilities from aircraft attacks. While much of this analysis has been labeled as classified information, the NRC study reportedly confirmed that the likelihood of such a scenario damaging the reactor core and releasing radioactivity into the atmosphere is low. Furthermore, NRC studies confirmed that even in the unlikely event of a radiological release due to terrorist use of commercial aircraft, there would be time to take actions for protecting the public since nuclear reactors are not designed to spontaneously explode. Also, it is very unlikely that there would be a significant release of radiation from a deliberate attack of a large commercial aircraft on a spent-fuel pool at a reactor site.

Cyber Security The NRC also has taken steps to enhance cyber security at nuclear power plants. Since September 11, 2001, the NRC has issued a series of safeguard advisories and orders requiring nuclear power plant licensees to address the issue of cyber security in order to prevent any unauthorized remote access of systems. Additional measures to enhance cyber security are being considered as part of the comprehensive review of the NRC's security program.

Security Against Dirty Bombs A radiological dispersal device (RDD) or "dirty bomb" is a conventional explosive, such as dynamite, accompanied by radioactive material. When such a device is detonated, the radioactive material would be spread to the surrounding area. Although

While much of this analysis has been labeled as classified information, the NRC study reportedly confirmed that the likelihood of such a scenario damaging the reactor core and releasing radioactivity into the atmosphere is low.

these devices would be unlikely to cause serious health effects beyond those caused by the detonation of the explosive, they are designed to have a significant psychological impact on the public by causing fear, panic, and disruption.

The NRC has been working with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and others to enhance physical protection and control of sources of radioactive material that present the highest risk if used by a terrorist in an RDD. In June 2003 this coalition formed a Materials Security Working Group and a related steering committee to work with the States to enhance security for high-risk sources.

Coordination and Communications The NRC has expanded its involvement with the FBI; other federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies; NRC licensees; and military, state, and local authorities to better protect the public. Communications have also been expanded with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, and others. The NRC also maintains close communications with nuclear regulators in Canada and Mexico, and has discussed security enhancements with nuclear regulatory bodies in other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Romania.

In February 2003, the NRC established a protected server system to facilitate the exchange of sensitive information between the NRC, licensees, and authorized state officials.

NRC Emergency Operations Center and Emergency Plans

The NRC has increased staffing of its 24-hour Emergency Operations Center to assist in the prompt dissemination of pertinent information to all concerned parties. In 2004, the NRC completed a major overhaul of the communications and computer systems in the Operations Center headquarters. The new design is expected to enhance communications, provide greater access to information, and assist in the coordination of teams with response duties during emergencies.

Other Security Actions

To consolidate security, safeguards, and responsibilities in the event of an incident, the NRC established an Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response in April 2002. This office serves to streamline decision making, improve information dissemination, and provide a more visible point of contact and effective counterpart to the DHS as well as other federal agencies. In June 2003 the agency established the position of Deputy Executive Director for Homeland Protection and Preparedness in order to increase the agency's attention to crosscutting issues that affect security, incident response, emergency preparedness, vulnerability assessments and mitigation strategies, and external integration of comprehensive strategies for these areas.

Protection of Nuclear Material in Transit

The transportation of spent nuclear fuel requires physical protection to ensure the safe arrival of the material as well as the public's safety. Procedures for the physical protection of these assets includes:

• Use of NRC-certified, structurally rugged, shipment overpacks and canisters.

• Advance planning and coordination with local law enforcement along routes.

• Protection of information about schedules.

• Regular communication between transports and control centers.

• Armed escorts within heavily populated areas.

• Vehicle immobility measures to protect against movement of a hijacked shipment before response forces arrive.

Threat Assessment

In order to determine how much physical protection is enough to protect nuclear material, the NRC monitors intelligence sources to keep abreast of foreign and domestic events and remains aware of the capabilities of potential adversaries.

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