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Domestic Safeguards
What We Regulate
Physical Protection
Material Control and Accounting
How We Regulate
Regulations, Guidance, and Communications
Licensing Requirements

Physical Protection

Physical protection (also called physical security) consists of a variety of measures for the protection of nuclear material or facilities against sabotage, theft, and diversion. NRC's approach to physical protection is graded based on the significance of the material or facilities being protected. NRC establishes the requirements and assesses compliance with the requirements, the licensees are responsible for providing the protection.

NRC has a threat assessment program to determine how much physical protection is enough.

This page describes NRC's requirements for the physical protection of:

Protection of Nuclear Facilities

Nuclear facilities that require physical protection include nuclear reactors, fuel cycle facilities, and spent fuel storage and disposal facilities. Key features of the physical protection programs for these facilities include:

  • Defense in depth using graded physical protection areas: Exclusion Area, Protected Area, Vital Area, and Material Access Area barriers and controls
  • Intrusion detection
  • Assessment of detection alarms to distinguish between false or nuisance alarms and actual intrusions and to initiate response.
  • Response to intrusions
  • Offsite assistance, as necessary, from local, State, and Federal agencies.

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Protection of Nuclear Material in Transit

Transportation of spent nuclear fuel and other high activity shipments require physical protection. Key features of physical protection for transportation include:

  • Use of NRC-certified, structurally rugged, shipment overpacks and canisters. Fuel within canisters is dense and in solid form, not readily dispersible as respirable particles.
  • Advance planning and coordination with local law enforcement along approved routes.
  • Protection of information about schedules.
  • Regular communication between transports and control centers.
  • Armed escorts within heavily populated areas.
  • Vehicle immobility measures to protect against movement of a hijacked shipment before response forces arrive.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007