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NRC Publishes Annual Report to Congress on Nuke Security Inspections

November 14, 2022 by Dan McCue
(Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has released an unclassified version of its annual report to Congress detailing the prior year’s security inspection program. 

The report, required under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, provides information to Congress and the public regarding the overall security and safeguards performance of the commercial nuclear power industry and Category I fuel cycle facilities.

The latest installment covers the NRC’s security inspection program, including force-on-force exercises for commercial nuclear power reactors and Category I fuel cycle facilities for calendar year 2021. 

In 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NRC conducted 176 security inspections at commercial nuclear power plants and Category I fuel cycle facilities. 

These inspections included 18 full triennial force-on-force inspections at nuclear power plants, involving simulated attacks on the facilities to test the effectiveness of a licensee’s physical protection program, and one triennial force-on-force inspection conducted at a Category I fuel cycle facility. 

Whenever NRC inspectors identify a security finding during an inspection, they ensure the licensee implements appropriate compensatory measures to correct the situation, if not already implemented by the licensee. 

Details of security findings are considered sensitive and not released to the public.

“CY 2021 was dynamic and challenging for the NRC and its regulated entities because of the continued impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) variants and the ongoing public health emergency,” the agency said in the executive summary of the new report. 

“The NRC took appropriate measures to balance the needs of the program and the need to keep NRC and licensee staff safe while also applying the NRC’s Principles of Good Regulation (independence, openness, efficiency, clarity and reliability) in performing its safety and security mission,” it said.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and @DanMcCue

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