NRC Increases the Amount of Security-Related Info Released

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a staff recommendation to make more security-related information public as part of the agency's Reactor Oversight Process (ROP).

Previously, selected information concerning security reviews of commercial nuclear power plants was considered sensitive information and not released.

"This initiative improves the balance between the agency's goal to be open in carrying out our regulatory responsibilities while also protecting sensitive information that could aid those with malevolent intentions," said Luis Reyes, the agency's executive director for operations. "Further, the staff continues to explore options to make more security-related information public under programs other than the Reactor Oversight Process."

The ROP monitors performance at nuclear power plants in three areas: reactor safety, radiation safety and safeguards, which includes security. NRC plant performance reviews in these areas use both objective performance indicators obtained from licensees and NRC inspection results to determine if plants are meeting safety and security requirements. Those plants with problems receive greater scrutiny from the NRC to ensure that problems are corrected.

According to a directive from the commission, the cover letters for future security inspection reports would be made available to the public. The cover letter would contain a summary statement of the security inspection and indicate whether security findings were identified at the plant. The statement would also indicate that the identified deficiencies had been promptly corrected or actions had been taken to compensate for the problem. The statement would not, however, describe specific security issues that had been identified, as that information may be detrimental to the security of the facility.

The results of the ROP can be found at the NRC Web site at: www.nrc.gov/NRR/OVERSIGHT/ASSESS/index.html.

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