Information Notice No. 87-11: Enclosure of Vital Equipment within Designated Vital Areas
SSINS No.: 6835
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555
February 13, 1987
Information Notice No. 87-11: ENCLOSURE OF VITAL EQUIPMENT WITHIN
DESIGNATED VITAL AREAS
All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license or
This notice is provided to describe examples of significant degradation of
facility security programs resulting from the failure to enclose vital
equipment within designated vital areas. It is expected that recipients will
review the information for applicability to their facilities and consider
actions as appropriate to ensure that similar degradations do not exist or
occur at their facilities. However, suggestions contained in this
information notice do not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no
specific action or written response is required.
Past Related Correspondence:
Information Notice No. 85-79, "Inadequate Communications between Maintenance,
Operations, and Security Personnel."
Information Notice No. 86-27, "Access Control at Nuclear Facilities."
Description of Circumstances:
Failure to provide adequate physical protection for vital equipment is one
of the most significant safeguards vulnerabilities that can occur at a
nuclear power facility. In recent months, plant walkdowns and inspections by
NRC and licensee personnel have identified instances in which vital
equipment was incompletely enclosed in a vital area designated in the
physical security plan, resulting in inadequate protection. The following
examples were discovered.
1. High-pressure coolant injection (HPCI) pump rooms and 480-V shutdown
transformers were not enclosed within designated vital areas with
positive access controls established.
2. 125-V dc power panels and steam supply piping designated as vital
equipment was not enclosed within designated vital areas.
February 13, 1987
Page 2 of 3
3. The vital area barrier surrounding the diesel generator room had
openings in it that would have allowed someone to reach in and
manipulate valves on vital equipment.
In the first two examples, positive access controls or compensatory measures
had not been established to restrict access to the vital equipment.
Failure to protect vital equipment by not ensuring that the equipment is
located within an appropriately established and controlled vital area poses
a potentially significant threat to the security and safety of the facility
because of the opportunity for unauthorized and undetected access.
A review of the circumstances of the examples noted above indicate that the
most significant factors contributing to the degradations in protection of
vital equipment were:
- Failure by the licensee to adequately review and verify the
as-built drawings relative to the location and identity of
designated vital equipment.
- Failure of the site security organization to verify the location
and protection afforded areas and equipment identified as vital
in the physical security plan.
- Inadequate training of security and other licensee personnel in
the necessity for appropriate protection for designated vital
areas and equipment.
- Failure to adequately coordinate and followup on maintenance and
modification activities that may result in exposing vital
equipment to an inadequately protected environment.
February 13, 1987
Page 3 of 3
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 the
technical contact listed below.
Edward L. Jordan, Director
Division of Emergency Preparedness
and Engineering Response
Office of Inspection and Enforcement
Technical Contact: R. P. Rosano, IE
1. Information Notice No. 85-79
2. Information Notice No. 86-27
3. List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, May 22, 2015