United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 88-41: Physical Protection Weaknesses Identified Through Regulatory Effectiveness Reviews (RERs)

                                  UNITED STATES
                          NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                      OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REACTOR REGULATION
                             WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                                  June 22, 1988


Information Notice No. 88-41:  PHYSICAL PROTECTION WEAKNESSES IDENTIFIED 
                                   THROUGH REGULATORY EFFECTIVENESS REVIEWS 
                                   (RERs)


Addressees: 

All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power 
reactors. 

Purpose:

This information notice is being provided to alert addressees to potential 
problems resulting from weaknesses that may exist in their physical security 
systems and programs.  The NRC identified physical security weaknesses during 
safeguards regulatory effectiveness reviews (RERs) at a number of plant sites.  
It is expected that recipients will review the information for applicability 
to their facilities and consider actions, as appropriate, to avoid similar 
problems.  However, suggestions contained in this information notice do not 
constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written response 
is required.  

Description of Weaknesses:

During recent RERs, which assess a licensee's capability to cope with the 
NRC's design-basis threats, the staff identified problems at a number of 
sites.  These findings involved such areas as intrusion detection systems, 
vital area barriers, alarm assessment and response, access portal search 
equipment, and weapons deployment and mix.  

Some examples of findings identified at various sites that have generic appli-
cability are given below.
 
1.   Support posts, junction boxes, and fencing located in close proximity to 
     perimeter intrusion detection systems have been demonstrated to be poten-
     tial penetration aids for successfully defeating detection.  Some intru-
     sion detection systems also could be circumvented in certain instances by 
     crawling.  In addition, RER team members have found weaknesses in intru-
     sion detection coverage on the roofs, ledges, and walls of structures 
     that make up a portion of the protected area barrier at some sites.  

2.   Several sites have had difficulty distinguishing between nuisance or 
     false alarms and alarms activated by a simulated intruder.  



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3.   Some vital area barriers were found where ventilation openings and 
     ducting, walls, and hatches provided little resistance to undetected 
     penetration by hand tools available within the protected area.  

4.   Performance problems with X-ray equipment were experienced at a few sites 
     during RERs.  Coordination of X-ray and explosive detection techniques 
     also was a weakness at some sites.  
     
5.   Weaknesses were found in the storage locations and in the accessibility 
     of response weapons and equipment.  
     
6.   Detection systems sometimes were not functionally tested following soft-
     ware changes to the security computer system.

7.   Problems were identified with regard to the backup power supply for pro-
     tected area security lighting.

8.   Tactical training exercises have been infrequent or did not cover the 
     range of potential safeguards contingencies consistent with NRC's 
     design-basis threat.

Discussion: 

To be fully effective, physical protection must be supported by a management 
commitment to excellence; performance testing of equipment, procedures, and 
personnel functions; and good maintenance.  The approaches that some licensees 
have employed for dealing with the above-mentioned weaknesses are given below.  
However, these are not the only acceptable solutions; alternative solutions 
may exist that are better suited to the conditions of a particular site. 

Intrusion Detection:

Reducing the height or changing the configuration of intrusion detection 
system support posts and relocating junction boxes and fencing are means of 
eliminating these objects from serving as penetration aids.  Stacking 
microwave heads, adding E-field wire or shortening detection zones have been 
effective against jumping or crawling.  Reconfiguring, replacing, or repairing 
existing intrusion detection systems or adding additional intrusion detection 
devices have, in some instances, improved the capability to detect attempted 
penetration over, around, or through protected area barrier structures. 

Alarm Assessment:

Alarm assessment has been improved in several cases by the addition and/or 
enhancement of closed-circuit television cameras; timely and thorough on scene 
verification by a security patrol; the addition of a second fence to delay a 
running adversary; and/or increasing the alarm callup monitor speed.  

Vital Area Barriers: 

At a number of sites, material such as welded deck grating has been used to 
provide a substantial barrier.  In some cases, intrusion detection systems 
have been installed to detect any attempted penetration of vital area 
barriers.  Adequacy 
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                                                                 Page 3 of 3 


of barriers is affected by factors such as time required to penetrate in 
relation to detection and response capability, the amount of normal foot 
traffic through the area, and the extent of concealment available to 
adversaries.

Entry Searches: 

Licensees have made modifications to access controls to ensure that all hand-
carried items will be subjected to appropriate explosives search.  Insensitive 
equipment has been upgraded or replaced with new equipment at some facilities.

Response Weapons and Equipment: 

Some licensees have stored response weapons in more than one location to faci-
litate a timely response to a security contingency and to prevent easy inter-
diction of the response force.  Ammunition placed in the weapons that are 
locked in storage or in load bearing systems (e.g., cartridge case) can also 
facilitate rapid deployment.

Computer Software Changes:

In addition to testing those zones affected by software modifications, some 
licensees randomly test the remainder of the system to verify that it has not 
been adversely affected by the change, either accidentally or deliberately.

Security Lighting: 

Uninterruptible power supply systems have been used as the preferred source of 
backup power.  Station or security generators and station batteries also have 
been used.

Tactical Training:

Some licensees are increasing the frequency and thoroughness of tactical 
training drills for their security forces.  Security training officers have 
been given specialized education and training in tactics.  

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




                              Charles E. Rossi, Director 
                              Division of Operational Events Assessment
                              Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

Technical Contact:  Michael S. Warren, NRR
                    (301) 492-3211

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices
.                                                            Attachment
                                                            IN 88-41 
                                                            June 22, 1988 
                                                            Page 1 of 1

                             LIST OF RECENTLY ISSUED
                            NRC INFORMATION NOTICES 
_____________________________________________________________________________
Information                                  Date of 
Notice No._____Subject_______________________Issuance_______Issued to________

88-40          Examiners' Handbook for       6/22/88        All holders of OLs
               Developing Operator                          or CPs for nuclear
               Licensing Examinations                       power reactors. 

88-39          LaSalle Unit 2 Loss of        6/15/88        All holders of OLs
               Recirculation Pumps With                     or CPs for BWRs. 
               Power Oscillation Event 

88-38          Failure of Undervoltage       6/15/88        All holders of OLs
               Trip Attachment on General                   or CPs for nuclear
               Electric Circuit Breakers                    power reactors. 

88-37          Flow Blockage of Cooling      6/14/88        All holders of OLs
               Water to Safety System                       or CPs for nuclear
               Components                                   power reactors. 

88-36          Possible Sudden Loss of RCS   6/8/88         All holders of OLs
               Inventory During Low Coolant                 or CPs for PWRs. 
               Level Operation                              

88-35          Inadequate Licensee Performed 6/3/88         All holders of OLs
               Vendor Audits                                or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors. 

88-34          Nuclear Material Control      5/31/88        All holders of OLs
               and Accountability of                        or CPs for nuclear
               Non-Fuel Special Nuclear                     power reactors. 
               Material at Power Reactors 

87-61,         Failure of Westinghouse       5/31/88        All holders of OLs
Supplement 1   W-2-Type Circuit Breaker                     or CPs for nuclear
               Cell Switches                                power reactors. 

88-33          Recent Problems Involving     5/27/88        All Agreement 
States 
               the Model Spec 2-T                           and NRC licensees 
               Radiographic Exposure                        authorized to 
               Device                                       manufacture, 
                                                            distribute or 
                                                            operate radio-
                                                            graphic exposure 
                                                            devices and source
                                                            changers. 
_____________________________________________________________________________
OL = Operating License
CP = Construction Permit 
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 12, 2013