Nuclear Reactor Security
The heightened focus upon Homeland Security has led to increased scrutiny of the waterside security measures that are in place to protect the nuclear power plants. The Nuclear Regulatory Commissions 2003 Design Basis Threat (DBT) focused upon the need for enhanced maritime perimeter security, including the installation of boat barriers to protect cooling intakes from small boat attack.
The US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) strategy for the small boat threat is outlined four primary threat types posed by small boats. An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was one of the scenarios in the report. The specific language from the DHS “Small Vessel Security Strategy” is detailed below:
Use of small vessels as Water Borne Improvised Explosive Device – small, explosive-laden vessels used as “boat bombs” against another vessel, maritime critical infrastructure, or key resources.
The WhisprWave® line of boat barriers are a class of WBIED countermeasure that is specifically designed to thwart the terrorist attack scenario outlined in the DHS report.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, said the target opportunities for terrorists are endless.
“We have nearly 3,000 power plants (in the U.S.)), over 3000 water reservoirs . . .and the list goes on and on,” Ridge said, calling the potential targets “critical infrastructure.”
“H.R. 3016, section 305 direct the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to consult with other federal agencies and state governments to consider changes to the design basis threat (A design basis threat includes the types of sabotage attempts that nuclear power plant operators are required to protect against as part of their license compliance) for nuclear power plants.
The regulations are to take into account the events of Sept. 11, 2001;
- the potential for an attack by at least 20 individuals;
- the potential for an attack by several insiders;
- the potential of suicide attacks;
- water-based and air-based threats;
- the potential use of explosive devices of considerable size and other modern weaponry;
- the potential for attack by those with a sophisticated knowledge of the facility operations;
- the threat of long duration fires;
- and protection of spent fuel storage pools and dry cask storage, including after reactor closure (decommissioning).