Nuclear Security Issues in the Post-September 11 Environment: Dr. Richard A. Meserve, Chairman, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, before the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, Atlanta, Gerogia, November 8, 2001   [open pdf - 44KB]

The protection of licensed facilities against sabotage is by no means a new issue for the NRC or its licensees, as you well know. For decades, security against sabotage has been an important part of the NRC's regulatory activities and our licensee's responsibilities, applying defense in depth as the guiding principle. This begins at the design stage, with facilities that are capable of withstanding many of the challenges that either safety events or safeguards events, such as armed assaults, might bring to bear. Nuclear facilities are among the most robustly built structures in existence. Secondly, we require careful background checks to minimize the risk of insider assistance and have access controls, delay barriers, and intrusion detection systems to detect and deter potential attackers. Thirdly, we require that licensees be able to respond with force to a group of armed attackers using protective strategies involving layers of defense. This system of multiple protections has long been in place. But that is not sufficient reason for assuming that "business as usual" is an acceptable response to the events of September 11. What occurred on that date was an attack by suicidal terrorists bent on maximizing damage in the course of their own self-destruction. September 11 has served as a wake-up call to America about the threat of terrorist attacks. I am sure that all of you in the nuclear industry are particularly aware of the heightened public sensitivity to the possible vulnerability of nuclear plants in this changed environment.

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