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Project on Government Oversight




Security Still Lax at Nuclear Power Plants: POGO

March 10, 2004 


Security standards for nuclear power plants are not "even close" to meeting the threats assessed by the intelligence community, according to the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). Tomorrow, POGO's Danielle Brian will discuss this and other security weaknesses at power plants in an address to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) annual conference for the nuclear industry.

According to Ms. Brian: "the intelligence community generally advises that terrorists would attack a target with a squad-sized force. For reference, a typical squad in the Army Special Forces is 12 soldiers and in the Navy SEALs, it is 14.... Having interviewed a number of people who have reviewed the NRC's new DBT [Design Basis Threat, meaning the security standards], we do not believe that it is even close to reaching the 12 to 14 level that is appropriate. Representatives of other federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, have told POGO that the NRC's new DBT remains inadequate."

In 2002, POGO's released the report, "Nuclear Power Plant Security: Voices from Inside the Fences" which was based upon interviews with security guards and officers at nuclear power plants across the U.S. In response to POGO's findings, the NRC issued two new orders requiring nuclear power plants to improve training of security officers and to limit the amount of overtime that officers are obligated to work so that they are not fatigued.

The NRC conference takes place at the Capitol Hilton Hotel, 16th and K Streets, NW, Washington, D.C. For information about the Nuclear Regulatory Information conference, go to

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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