Information Notice No. 88-41:Physical Protection Weaknesses Identified Through Regulatory Effectiveness Reviews (RERs)
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
All holders of operating licenses or construction permits for nuclear power
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
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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June 22, 1988
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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
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.
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 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
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June 22, 1988
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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
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.
Uninterruptible power supply systems have been used as the preferred source of
backup power. Station or security generators and station batteries also have
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
Charles E. Rossi, Director
Division of Operational Events Assessment
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
Technical Contact: Michael S. Warren, NRR
Attachment: List of Recently Issued NRC Information Notices
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.
88-35 Inadequate Licensee Performed 6/3/88 All holders of OLs
Vendor Audits or CPs for nuclear
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
the Model Spec 2-T and NRC licensees
Radiographic Exposure authorized to
devices and source
OL = Operating License
CP = Construction Permit
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, May 22, 2015