United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Armed Response

To protect public health and safety and the common defense and security, the licensee is responsible for defending nuclear material or a nuclear facility against an attack, using armed responders. This may include the use of deadly force if necessary.

Response capabilities

  • Fixed Sites: Depending upon the significance of the material or facilities being protected, armed response to an unauthorized intrusion into a protected area and attack on a nuclear facility could be by the --
    • Licensee's on-site armed security force, with the Local Law Enforcement Authority (LLEA) and FBI arriving later
    • LLEA
  • Transportation: Armed response to an attack on a nuclear transport would be by the --
    • Licensee's armed escorts in the case of a shipment of Category I material (strategically significant SNM), with FBI and LLEA arriving later.
    • Licensee's armed escorts and LLEA in the case of a shipment of spent fuel or other high activity shipments.

Response Preparation

  • Response elements must be appropriately armed and in sufficient number to counter the potential threat.
  • A licensee's armed security officers undergo significant training and qualification in, among other things:
    • physical fitness
    • weapons safety
    • nuclear and radiation safety
    • weapons proficiency
    • use of force
    • tactical movements
    • response strategies
  • Because of redundancy of safety equipment at nuclear facilities, the plant may elect a protection strategy that protects only a subset of vital equipment. The subset is determined in advance to be sufficient to permit safe shutdown of the reactor or facility. The subset to protect may vary depending upon where the adversary enters the protected area.
  • Interaction with the LLEA includes advance planning and coordination, including familiarity tours.
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, November 06, 2013