WASHINGTON—To sustain the nuclear energy industry's heightened security readiness on a permanent basis, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) soon will notify power plant operators of specific security refinements that the agency will require at individual plant sites over the long term.
At most nuclear plant sites, the NRC's action formalizes security practices already in place, said Ralph Beedle, the Nuclear Energy Institute's chief nuclear officer. At remaining sites, the refinements are on the margins of a substantial security strategy that already exists. For security purposes, the NRC is not expected to disclose the modifications, which are the outgrowth of ongoing security discussions that took on new urgency after last September's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Beedle said.
"Plant safety and security are job one," Beedle said. "Although we're not in a position to discuss details publicly, I'm greatly pleased to be able to inform the American people that the nuclear energy industry continues to do everything we can to improve security preparedness at the nation's nuclear plants. We will not give an inch to terrorists, and will continue to work with the federal government, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies, to assure that a fully protective shield exists around this vital component of our nation's critical energy infrastructure."
The required security refinements come in the general areas of personnel, training, and additional physical safety barriers, he said. "NRC Chairman Richard Meserve said it quite succinctly last month: 'There is not going to be a magic moment when we say that this activity is over,'" Beedle said.
Nuclear power plants operating in 31 states provide electricity to one of every five homes and businesses in the United States. They are extremely secure facilities, with a combination of robust physical protection, well-trained and armed security forces, and emergency response capability unsurpassed in the industrial sector.
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org.