Security Orders and Requirements

The NRC issues security orders to require licensees to implement interim security measures beyond that currently required by NRC regulations and as conditions of licenses. Orders can be used to modify, suspend, or revoke licenses or require specific actions by licensees or other persons. Orders can also be used to impose civil penalties.

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Authority and Basis

The Commission's order issuing authority under Section 161 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 is broad and extends to any area of licensed activity that the Commission deems necessary to promote the common defense and security or to protect health or to minimize danger to life or property.

The NRC has issued, and continues to issue, security Orders under two bases: public health and safety and common defense and security. However, a licensee is obligated to comply with the content of any Order to which it is subject, regardless of the basis under which it is issued.

Public Health and Safety

When an Order or other regulatory action is issued under the basis of public health and safety, an Agreement State Radiation Control Program issues legally binding requirements to its licensees, consistent with the order. The Agreement State retains primary authority to regulate, inspect, and take enforcement actions against licensees within its respective jurisdiction.

Common Defense and Security

Conversely, when an Order is issued under common defense and security, the NRC maintains regulatory authority over the specific requirements in the Order, even if the Order is issued to an Agreement State licensee. However, an Agreement State can enter into an agreement with the NRC pursuant to Section 274(i) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, to inspect against common defense and security Orders or other regulations on behalf of the NRC.

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Oversight and Inspection

The NRC and its State partners oversee the activities of their licensees through the processes of inspection and enforcement. Certain requirements that were in the Orders formalized a series of security measures that licensees took in response to advisories NRC issued in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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Rescission of Security Orders

On March 19, 2013, the NRC published the 10 CFR Part 37 final rule in the Federal Register (78 FR 16922). 10 CFR Part 37 was effective on May 20, 2013, and NRC licensees were to comply with the requirements by March 19, 2014. The Agreement States were to adopt adequate and compatible 10 CFR Part 37 requirements by March 19, 2016. Upon the effective date of the NRC and Agreement States' requirements, the NRC rescinded the NRC security orders issued under NRC's common defense and security authority (previously-issued orders are described below) through formal written correspondence. The NRC as well as the Agreement States also rescinded NRC- or Agreement State-issued orders, removed license conditions, or took any other necessary action with respect to the Increased Controls and Fingerprinting security requirements issued to licensees under the NRC's as well as the Agreement States' public health and safety authority on, or following, the effective dates of their respective requirements.

Formal NRC correspondence communicating the rescission of Orders issued by the NRC under its public health and safety authority and common defense and security authority are referenced below:

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Previously Issued Orders:

  • Increased Controls

The NRC issued the "Order Imposing Increased Controls" to NRC licensees authorized to possess radioactive material in quantities of concern. The radionuclides and associated threshold quantities were based on the Category 1 and Category 2 quantities described in the IAEA Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources. The Order required licensees to implement enhanced security to control access to radioactive materials quantities of concern and to protect sensitive security-related information. The Order was issued to applicable material licensees under the NRC's public health and safety authority. In conjunction, the Agreement States issued the same requirements to applicable materials licensees within their regulatory jurisdictions.

Types of Licensees Who Could Receive Increased Controls

Increased Control Requirements

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  • Other Security Orders

The NRC also issued several security Orders under its common defense and security authority. These Orders were issued to both NRC and Agreement State materials licensees who we authorized possess, transport, and or distribute significant quantities of certain radioactive materials.

Types of Licensees Who Could Receive Orders

The Orders

*Specific sections of this order are SENSITVE or SAFEGUARDS INFORMATION; therefore, these sections are not publicly available.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 12, 2020