If you presently working at a nuclear facility you should immediately contact the United Federation LEOS-PBA and our Nuclear Union National Union of Nuclear Security Officers NUNSO to find out how we can help you and your co-officers improve your wages, benefits and working conditions under a United Federation LEOS-PBA union contract.
While security of the nuclear facilities and materials the NRC regulates has always been a priority, the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, brought heightened scrutiny and spurred more stringent security requirements. Today, NRC-regulated nuclear facilities are among the most secure of the nation’s critical infrastructure. In fact, one member of Congress rated nuclear plant security the strongest among the nation’s civilian infrastructure.
This heightened security is achieved in layers, with multiple approaches concurrently at work – just as safety in nuclear power plants is accomplished through duplicate back-up systems. To begin with, nuclear power plants are inherently secure, robust structures, built to withstand hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. Additional security measures are in place: well trained and armed security officers; equipment and structures, including physical barriers, intrusion detection and surveillance systems; and access controls. Another layer of protection is in place for coordinating threat information and response. The NRC works closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FBI, intelligence agencies, the departments of Defense and Energy, states, and local law enforcement. These relationships ensure the NRC can act quickly on any threats that might affect its licensed facilities and allows effective emergency response from “outside the fence” should a serious terrorist attack occur.
For several years following 9/11, the NRC required many security enhancements at its licensed power reactors, decommissioning reactors, independent spent fuel storage installations, research and test reactors, uranium conversion facilities, gaseous diffusion plants, fuel fabrication facilities, large irradiators, manufacturers and distributors, transportation, and licensees with greater than IAEA category 2 material. The NRC directed nuclear power plants and fuel fabrication facilities to upgrade their physical security plans, security officer training and qualification plans, and contingency plans. These facilities now have, among other heightened measures:
• More patrols • Stronger and more capable security forces • Additional physical barriers • Greater stand-off distances for vehicle checks • More restrictive site access controls • Enhanced emergency preparedness and response plans
One of the most important components of security programs at nuclear power facilities is the security force. Over the past five years, the NRC has required power plants to add more training and higher qualification standards for security personnel, while substantially increasing the number of officers on the force. Plant security officers, for example, must now be trained under more realistic conditions and against moving targets. In order to minimize security personnel fatigue and ensure a vigilant and effective security force, the NRC has instituted additional fitness-for-duty requirements and work hours controls.
In accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the NRC has also strengthened requirements for fingerprinting and background checks for various types of licensees and certificate holders. On Jan. 4, 2006, the NRC entered into an agreement with the federal government’s Terrorist Screening Center to review records of individuals with unescorted access to nuclear power reactor facilities. This collaborative effort automated and streamlined the collection and dissemination of information used to determine the trustworthiness of individuals who have unescorted access to certain vital areas of nuclear power plants. It also enhances the process of identifying anyone with access to these areas who may pose a threat to national security.