United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Domestic Safeguards Oversight

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Oversight of Physical Protection

Implementation of NRC-approved physical protection systems are subject to inspection and adequacy evaluations. Inspectors follow agency guidance in NRC's Inspection Manual. However, the documents that provide the details on the inspections of physical protection are no longer publicly available. The Commission decided in March of 2004 that documents that could aid potential adversaries should no longer be available through NRC's public access. Subsequently in May of 2006, consistent with the Commission’s desire to appropriately balance maintaining the openness of NRC’s regulatory processes with the need to protect the public from possible terrorist threats, the cover letters to inspection reports that deal with security would be in the public domain. NRC Regulatory Issue Summary 2006-08 provides details on this practice. The process by which we assess how well power reactor licensees are performing in the area of physical protection is described in Inspection Manual Chapter (IMC) 0320, "Operating Reactor Security Oversight Process".

Assessing Security

The NRC conducts inspections of nuclear power reactor licensees' security programs on a continuing, regular basis. These inspection areas, which cover the requirements contained, in part, in 10 CFR Part 73.55 include access authorization, access control, security equipment testing, security force training, inspection of physical barriers, and intrusion detection and alarm assessment monitoring systems, among other areas.

The NRC's routine inspections of power reactor security include security evaluations of the licensee's ability to protect the plant from the design basis threats of radiological sabotage, theft, and diversion, which have been con. These evaluations, which have been conducted since 1992, are realistic mock attacks that challenge the plant's security force and systems. In late 2004, these NRC-evaluated Force-On-Force exercises have been fully integrated with the inspection program for physical protection.

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Oversight of Material Control and Accounting

Implementation of material control and accounting (MC&A) programs are subject to inspection and adequacy evaluations. Inspectors follow agency guidance in NRC's Inspection Manual. The documents that guide the MC&A inspections are no longer publicly available. The Commission decided in March of 2004 that documents that could aid potential adversaries should no longer be available through NRC's public access.

NRC regulations in 10 CFR Part 74 include general reporting requirements applicable to anyone who possesses, transfers, or receives quantities of Special Nuclear Material (SNM) that exceed certain thresholds. NRC regulations also require licensees to keep complete records of receipt, transfer, and inventory of all SNM; to develop and follow written procedures that are adequate to account for and control all SNM possessed; and to perform periodic physical inventories. The manner in which these activities are carried out and their frequency, as well as the frequency with which inspections are conducted, depend on the type and form of SNM possessed. The NRC's inspections of MC&A at power reactors and fuel cycle facilities assess the licensee's ability to account for and control SNM.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 05, 2013