NRC releases unclassified report on nuclear security inspections in 2017

Published on July 10, 2018 by Aaron Martin

© Shutterstock

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) conducted 19 force-on-force (FOF) inspections of commercial nuclear plants that included simulated attacks in 2017, finding that one exercise was unable to demonstrate effective defense and three demonstrated marginal defenses.

The NRC released an unclassified version of its report to Congress on nuclear security inspections on July 6. The inspections are required under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. All plants have taken corrective action in response to observations made during the inspections, NRC concluded.

“In preparation for the FOF inspections, information from tabletop drills, which probe for potential deficiencies in a licensee’s protective strategy, is factored into a number of adversary force attack scenarios,” the report stated. “The FOF inspections consider security baseline inspection results and security plan reviews. Any significant deficiencies in the protective strategy identified during FOF inspections are reviewed and corrected by the licensee.

In total, the NRC conducted 230 security inspections at commercial nuclear power plants and category I fuel cycle facilities, including the 19 FOF inspections. NRC issued 110 security inspection findings, and 107 of them were deemed “very low-security significance.” The report concluded. “Through its inspection program, the NRC has high assurance that category I fuel cycle facilities continue to meet the intent of the regulations.”