United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 86-27: Access Control at Nuclear Facilities

                                                            SSINS No: 6835 
                                                            IN 86-27       

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
                            WASHINGTON, DC 20555

                               April 21, 1986

Information Notice No. NO 86-27:   ACCESS CONTROL AT NUCLEAR FACILITIES 

Addressees: 

All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license (OL) or 
construction permit (CP), research and nonpower reactor facilities, and fuel
fabrication and processing facilities using or possessing formula quantities
of special nuclear material 

Purpose: 

This information notice is provided to describe examples of significant 
physical security problems in the area of access control It is expected 
that recipients will review the information for applicability to their 
facilities and consider actions, if appropriate, to preclude similar 
problems from occurring at their facilities However, suggestions contained 
in this information notice do not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no 
specific action or written response is required at this time 

Description of Circumstances: 

In recent months, the number of incidents related to degraded access control
at nuclear facilities appears to have increased considerably Breakdowns in 
positive access control, especially those that could have allowed access 
into vital areas (VAs) and material access areas (MAAs), are among the most 
significant safeguards vulnerabilities that can occur at nuclear facilities

Examples of the most frequent access control problems are: 

o    Weapons have been found on vehicles by security personnel during 
     protected area exit searches instead of entry searches Also, 
     individuals already granted access have discovered that they mistakenly
     brought weapons on site via vehicle or package In some cases, no entry
     search was conducted, while in others, a search was conducted but the 
     weapon was not detected Security personnel have asked drivers of 
     vehicles if they had any weapons on their persons, but failed to ask if
     there were any weapons in the vehicles 

o    Individuals have gained access to facilities by tailgating or by using 
     someone else's badge Also, individuals not authorized access to VAs 
     and MAAs ave tailgated into those areas In many cases, they were not 
     challenged by the person being tailgated or by personnel working in the 
     area Some violators displayed badges that clearly indicated they were 
     not authorized to be in the area, while others did not even display a 
     badge 

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o    VA and MAA doors have been found unsecured because they would not close
     properly Also, these doors have been found taped or propped open for 
     operational convenience In other instances, the closure time for 
     power-controlled VA and MAA doors has been excessive, inviting 
     tailgating or unauthorized entries Poor maintenance programs and 
     inadequate compensatory measures have frequently compounded these 
     problems 

o    Guards being used as compensatory measures for VA and MAA barriers 
     and/or security alarm systems, have been found asleep at their posts or
     have left their posts before barriers and/or alarm systems have been 
     returned to an effective state of operation 

o    Responses to protected area and VA and MAA alarms have been very 
     untimely and, in some cases, no responses have been made 

In several of these cases, NRC has taken escalated enforcement action for 
failure to properly control access to the site protected area and VAs Under
the NRC Enforcement Policy, failure to control access such that contraband 
is introduced into the site protected area or individuals are allowed access
to protected areas or VAs without proper authorization may be categorized as
Severity Level III or higher violations Depending on the particular 
circumstances of such incidents, a substantial civil penalty may be imposed

Discussion: 

The above examples of frequent access control problems indicate that many 
licensees may share some of the following program management problems: 

o    Failure to properly train and motivate security personnel and other 
     employees in discharging their security-related responsibilities 

o    Failure to place appropriate priorities on maintenance of security 
     equipment 

o    Poor security awareness or attitudes by employees 

o    Poor access control procedures, especially concerning searches, 
     issuance of badges, and use of turnstiles 

Human error, ineffective training, and poor attitudes towards the security 
program appear to be the most significant factors in the problem areas 
identified NRC inspectors are directing more inspection effort in these 
areas, and violations will be processed in accordance with NRC Enforcement 
Policy 


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No specific action or written response is required by this information 
notice If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the 
Regional Administrator of the appropriate NRC regional office, or this 
office 

                                   Edward L Jordan Director 
                                   Division of Emergency Preparedness 
                                     and Engineering Response 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement 

Technical Contact:  N Ervin, IE
                    (301) 492-7855

Attachment: List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices 

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