Safety and Security at U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Before and After 11 September 2001


R. L. Andersen


U.S. nuclear power plants were safe and secure before 11 September, and they are even more secure today. Nuclear plants are designed and operated with a defense-in-depth philosophy that utilizes multiple barriers, redundant safety systems, and well-tested operating and contingency procedures, as well as security, emergency preparedness, and radiological safety programs. The industry, working with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), has instituted additional security measures and made appropriate adjustments to emergency response capabilities since 11 September. In February 2002, the NRC issued orders directing the implementation of measures above those required previously, many of which plant operators had already implemented. The industry has initiated its own "what-if" evaluations of aircraft and ground-based terrorist attacks to bound hypothetical events and consequences, elicit insights, and identify additional potential enhancements to nuclear power plant safety and security programs. In summary, nuclear power plants are among the most secure, strongly defended, and best prepared industrial facilities in the nation and can serve as a model for assuring protection of the U.S. infrastructure.


This abstract was presented at the 36th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety Aspects of Homeland Security and Emergency Response", Operational Health Physics Aspects/Impacts of Homeland Defense Session, 1/26/2003 - 1/29/2003, held in San Antonio, TX.

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