Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Wants ‘More Balanced’ Security Approach

Pressure on the industry to achieve a zero risk level is wrongheaded because it is not attainable in the real world, Dale Klein, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission member, told attendees Friday in Raleigh, N.C., at the Grand Challenge Summit 2010.

Citing as his example of an unforeseen consequence the bullet-resistant enclosures (BREs) that nuclear power plants were required to install as security measures after 9/11, Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Dale Klein told attendees Friday in Raleigh, N.C., at the Grand Challenge Summit 2010 that NRC needs to take a “more balanced” approach to the plants’ security requirements. Klein is a former NRC chairman who also worked for five years at the Pentagon as assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs.

He said the NRC “has made great strides in bringing a risk-informed approach to our safety regulations.” The Reactor Oversight Process now in use is a good example, Klein said, according to the text of his prepared remarks that was posted on the NRC Web site.

“Considering the great progress we have made in risk-informing our safety regulations, I believe we have the experience and many tools to further risk-inform the security-related arena,” Klein said. “I also believe that in most instances, the U.S. nuclear industry has reached a level of security such that additional requirements would not substantially improve overall security. Let me be clear: I strongly believe we need to remain vigilant but must also do a better job of risk-informing our security-related decisions. Simply put, I think we need to be better regulators in the security arena to ensure that our requirements are balanced.

“Let me give you a specific example of what happens when we don’t carefully think about the consequences of new security requirements. After 9/11, nuclear power plants and other types of licensees were required to install multiple bullet-resistant enclosures –- also known as BREs –- throughout plant protected areas to provide observational posts and fighting positions from which to repel an attack in lieu of traditional security patrols. Although these BREs can be effective in protecting security guards while repelling an attack, I firmly believe that these BREs have contributed to the security guard attentiveness issues we have seen recently at some commercial nuclear power plants. Let’s be honest, if you were isolated in a small room with little ventilation and only small slits to use to view the outside world, you would likely grow bored and inattentive, too. I think in this case we may have set ourselves up for failure. As a regulator, we must ensure that any security upgrades and new requirements proposethe future add real value. You don’t necessarily want to use an ax instead of a scalpel, just because it is bigger and stronger.

“The challenge for risk informing our security requirements is that security risks are often difficult to quantify. For example, whereas engineering calculations and related data can help us to determine what size pump or generator to use or what the chances are that it will fail when called upon, the same cannot be said for determining how many guards to have at a plant or what caliber weapons they should carry. Rather, we have to look at the overall security strategy and determine through more subjective means whether we have effectively managed risks associated with radiological sabotage.

“In the absence of quantifiable data related to the risks of radiological sabotage, the NRC and industry continue to receive pressure to increase security as well as safety requirements to reach a ‘zero’ risk level. But a zero risk level is not realistically attainable in any human activity and, as a practical matter, we balance risk against benefit every day in our routine activities. The safest vaccine is never given, the safest airplane never flies, the safest car never moves, and the safest power plant is one that never operates. In effect, more may not be better.” 

 

Featured

  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Protecting Data is Critical

    To say that the Internet of Things (IoT) has become a part of everyday life would be a dramatic understatement. At this point, you would be hard-pressed to find an electronic device that is not connected to the internet. Read Now

  • Mobile Access Adoption

    Smartphones and other mobile devices have had a profound impact on how the world securely accesses the workplace and its services. The growing adoption of mobile wallets and the new generation of users is compounding this effect. Read Now

  • Changing Mindsets

    We have come a long way from the early days of fuzzy analog CCTV systems. During that time, we have had to migrate from analog to digital signals. When IP-based network cameras arrived, they opened a new world of quality and connectivity but also introduced plenty of challenges. Thankfully, network devices today have become smart enough to discover themselves and even self-configure to some degree. While some IT expertise is certainly required, things are much smoother these days. The biggest change is in how fast security cameras and supporting infrastructure are evolving. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Webinars

New Products

  • Mobile Safe Shield

    Mobile Safe Shield

    SafeWood Designs, Inc., a manufacturer of patented bullet resistant products, is excited to announce the launch of the Mobile Safe Shield. The Mobile Safe Shield is a moveable bullet resistant shield that provides protection in the event of an assailant and supplies cover in the event of an active shooter. With a heavy-duty steel frame, quality castor wheels, and bullet resistant core, the Mobile Safe Shield is a perfect addition to any guard station, security desks, courthouses, police stations, schools, office spaces and more. The Mobile Safe Shield is incredibly customizable. Bullet resistant materials are available in UL 752 Levels 1 through 8 and include glass, white board, tack board, veneer, and plastic laminate. Flexibility in bullet resistant materials allows for the Mobile Safe Shield to blend more with current interior décor for a seamless design aesthetic. Optional custom paint colors are also available for the steel frame. 3

  • QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC)

    The latest Qualcomm® Vision Intelligence Platform offers next-generation smart camera IoT solutions to improve safety and security across enterprises, cities and spaces. The Vision Intelligence Platform was expanded in March 2022 with the introduction of the QCS7230 System-on-Chip (SoC), which delivers superior artificial intelligence (AI) inferencing at the edge. 3

  • 4K Video Decoder

    3xLOGIC’s VH-DECODER-4K is perfect for use in organizations of all sizes in diverse vertical sectors such as retail, leisure and hospitality, education and commercial premises. 3