United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Use of Deadly Force by Guards Protecting Nuclear Power Reactors against Radiological Sabotage

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

                                January 19, 1989


Information Notice No. 89-05:  USE OF DEADLY FORCE BY GUARDS PROTECTING 
                                   NUCLEAR POWER REACTORS AGAINST RADIOLOGICAL 
                                   SABOTAGE


Addressees:

All holders of operating licenses for nuclear power reactors.

Purpose:

This information notice is being provided to present NRC responses to 
questions raised during safeguards inspections and discussions with licensees 
concerning use of deadly force by guards protecting nuclear power reactors 
against radio-logical sabotage.  The information provided in this notice does 
not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written 
response is required. 

Description of Circumstances:

During recent inspections and discussions with the NRC staff, some licensees
expressed reservations about their authority to use deadly force to protect
nuclear power reactors.  The NRC considers use of deadly force justifiable 
in protecting nuclear power reactors against radiological sabotage in circum-
stances under which a guard could reasonably believe that the use of deadly 
force is necessary to counter an immediate threat of death or severe bodily 
injury to self, to others in the facility, or to members of the public.  This 
is already embodied in NRC regulation 10 CFR 73.55(h)(5), which requires 
licensees to "instruct every guard and all armed response personnel to prevent
or impede attempted acts of theft or radiological sabotage by using force suf-
ficient to counter the force directed at him including the use of deadly force 
when the guard or other armed response person has a reasonable belief it is 
necessary in self-defense or in the defense of others."

Discussion:

The staff considers use of deadly force justifiable in protecting nuclear 
power reactors against sabotage if there is reasonable belief that an act 
of radiological sabotage will be perpetrated unless deadly force is used 
to prevent it.  Radiological sabotage as defined in 10 CFR 73.2(p) means 
any "deliberate act" directed against a plant or against a component of 






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                                                            January 19, 1989
                                                            Page 2 of 3


a plant, that "could directly or indirectly endanger the public health 
and safety by exposure to radiation."  At nuclear power reactors, the 
principal focus of safeguards is to protect against deliberate acts that 
could result in sub-stantial meltdown of the core.  Components of a plant 
that must be protected are those considered "vital equipment," defined in 
10 CFR 73.2(i) as "any equipment, system, device, or material the failure, 
destruction, or release of which could directly or indirectly endanger the 
public health and safety by exposure to radiation.  Equipment or systems 
which would be required to function to protect public health and safety 
following such failure, destruction, or release are also considered to 
be vital."

Some situations and circumstances that could justify the use of deadly force 
in protecting nuclear power reactors are as follows:

     (1)  Defending Against Violent Armed Assault

          Use of deadly force could be justified in defending a power reactor 
          against a determined violent armed assault. 

     (2)  Defending Against Armed Attack By Stealth

          Use of deadly force could be justified for defenders intercepting 
          armed intruders who have penetrated the protected area and are at-
          tempting to break into an area containing vital equipment, ignoring 
          defenders' challenges and warnings to stop. 

     (3)  Defending Against Attackers Employing Explosives
          and/or Incendiaries

          Use of deadly force could be justified for defenders intercepting 
          intruders placing explosives or incendiary devices near vital 
          equipment if the intruders ignore defenders' warnings to stop.

     (4)  Defending Against Perceived Armed Attack

          Use of deadly force could be justified for defenders intercepting 
          heavily armed intruders who enter the protected area ignoring 
          challenges and warnings. 

Under these and similar conditions, facility guards do not have to abandon 
cover and concealment or their defensive positions, or wait for the ad-
versaries to fire the first shot.  Such actions may expose the guards to 
casualties and jeopardize their ability to defeat or contain the attacking 
forces.  

.                                                            IN 89-05
                                                            January 19, 1989
                                                            Page 3 of 3


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:  Nancy Ervin, NRR
                    (301) 492-0946

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notice
.                                                            Attachment 
                                                            IN 89-05
                                                            January 19, 1989
                                                            Page 1 of 1

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

89-04          Potential Problems from       1/17/89        All holders of OLs
               the Use of Space Heaters                     or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors and
                                                            test and research
                                                            reactors.

89-03          Potential Electrical          1/11/89        All fuel cycle and
               Equipment Problems                           major nuclear 
                                                            materials 
                                                            licensees.

89-02          Criminal Prosecution of       1/9/89         All holders of a
               Licensee's Former President                  U.S. NRC specific
               for Intentional Safety                       license.
               Violations

88-23,         Potential for Gas Binding     1/5/89         All holders of OLs
Supp. 1        of High-Pressure Safety                      or CPs for PWRs.
               Injection Pumps During a
               Loss-of-Coolant Accident

89-01          Valve Body Erosion            1/4/89         All holders of OLs
                                                            or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors.

88-46,         Licensee Report of Defective  12/30/88       All holders of OLs
Supp. 2        Refurbished Circuit Breakers                 or CPs for nuclear
                                                            power reactors.

88-101         Shipment of Contaminated      12/28/88       All holders of OLs
               Equipment between Nuclear                    or CPs for nuclear
               Power Stations                               power reactors.

88-100         Memorandum of Understanding   12/23/88       All major nuclear
               between NRC and OSHA                         materials licensees
               Relating to NRC-licensed                     and utilities 
               Facilities (53 FR 43950,                     holding CPs and 
               October 31, 1988)                            OLs. 

88-99          Detection and Monitoring      12/20/88       All holders of OLs
               of Sudden and/or Rapidly                     or CPs for PWRs.
               Increasing Primary-to-
               Secondary Leakage
_____________________________________________________________________________
OL = Operating License
CP = Construction Permit 
..
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