Security Lacking at Nuke Plant

Thursday, May 5, 2011 @ 08:05 AM gHale

A nuclear power plant is now under additional scrutiny after a Feb. 11 inspection revealed deficiencies in security.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) finalized a “Greater than Green” inspection finding for the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Berwick, PA. PPL owns the nuclear plant.

The NRC uses a color-coded system to classify inspection findings, with the colors starting at green, or very low safety significance, and then increasing to white, yellow or red, commensurate with their significance.

Details of the finding – including the level of significance – will not be made public because the NRC decided after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks it was appropriate to withhold security-related information because of concerns it could potentially aid individuals or groups interested in attacking or sabotaging a nuclear power plant, said Neil Sheehan, NRC public affairs officer.

Additional scrutiny will continue until the NRC is happy PPL understands the root causes of the issue and has taken appropriate steps to address it, Sheehan said.

“The finding was identified during a security inspection at the plant in February, and we issued it on a preliminary basis on March 28, 2011. At that time, we offered PPL an opportunity to attend a meeting with us to elaborate on the issue or to respond to it in writing. The company notified the NRC on March 31 that it was declining those opportunities,” Sheehan said.

PPL got the notice of violation because a condition at the power plant violated NRC regulations.

Sheehan noted the plant corrected the security deficiencies, and the plant was in compliance with applicable physical protection and security requirements before the NRC team that conducted the inspection left the site.

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