This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 20, 2002

NRC Orders Nuclear Plants to Tighten Security

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced last week that it will issue orders to all commercial nuclear power plants and other key nuclear facilities to implement new security measures "for the high-level threat environment." The new orders will formalize measures taken after the September 11th terrorist attacks, and includes such actions as additional personnel access controls, enhanced requirements for guard forces, increased stand-off distances for searches of vehicles approaching nuclear facilities, and heightened coordination with appropriate local, state, and federal authorities. The NRC says the orders are prudent because "the generalized high-level threat has persisted longer than expected." See the NRC press release.

The NRC announcement follows a mention by President Bush last month of potential threats to nuclear power plants. In the President's State of the Union Address, he noted that "Our discoveries in Afghanistan confirmed our worst fears...(we) have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants..." See the State of the Union Address on the White House Web site.

Dams may also be in jeopardy, according to the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC). The center released a bulletin in late January that warns of potential terrorist interest in the structural engineering of dams. See the NIPC Information Bulletin.