Background checks at nuclear plants

Criminal history checks are performed by the submission of fingerprint cards to the FBI's National Crime Information Center, but results are not timely. The NRC has accelerated the turnaround time for the checks since September 11, but individuals continue to gain access by lying about their criminal records. Workers at the Fermi, Perry, and Oconee nuclear plants have recently lost their unescorted access privileges after FBI checks revealed criminal histories.

In other words, despite fears that foreign terrorist cells may be operating within the United States, background checks for nuclear workers essentially stop at the border. Terrorists could probably get unescorted access to U. The questionable value of the psychological assessment screening tool is reflected in the Carl Drega case. Drega was killed in a police shootout in August after a series of shootings in New England that left four others dead.

Police later found bomb-making materials in his home. Drega had had unescorted access when he worked at the Vermont Yankee, Pilgrim, and Indian Point 3 nuclear plants between and He had applied for unescorted access to the Seabrook nuclear plant, too, but the plant owner denied his request. The NRC determined that Seabrook's owner would have granted him unescorted access if he had not parked his mobile home on Seabrook property and attempted to live there. The final protection against insider sabotage is continuing observation. Supervisors are trained to detect changes in behavior patterns that might be symptoms of mental stress caused by problems on the job or at home.

Upon detection of any such changes, supervisors are instructed to interact with the worker and suggest counseling. It seems doubtful that if a supervisor identified a saboteur mid-plot, a suggestion to seek counseling would make much difference. Contrast feckless continuing behavior observation against the announcement that would be read over the public address system at the Call-away nuclear plant in Missouri if an insider were suspected of trying to sabotage the facility:.

Included in this threat is information indicating that someone at the plant may be involved in an effort to cause damage to the plant. All personnel who have a work-related need to enter a card reader area inside the Protected Area must be accompanied by another person…. The two persons do not need to have the same skills but must have access to the same areas. The purpose is to ensure observation of all personnel in these areas. Card readers restrict access to vital areas within the plant.

Most areas of a plant are not classified as vital, but the control room, the emergency diesel generator rooms, and other areas containing essential equipment are.

Man Says He Dodged Background Checks To Work At Nuclear Plants

Observation of all personnel in vital areas might be a prudent anti-sabotage measure, but observation is not routine. Nuclear plants have plenty of security cameras, but most of them are trained on perimeter fences. Workers normally have both unescorted and unmonitored access to vital areas. Require criminal history checks to be completed before individuals gain unescorted access.

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Require foreign nationals to have background checks comparable to those required of U. Require the two-person rule for entry into infrequently accessed vital areas and require security camera monitoring of all other vital areas. The nuclear industry should be expected to resist these security upgrades.

Better security at sensitive facilities is needed more than ever, but the NRC and the nuclear industry have spent most of their time arguing against improvements. Some of those arguments have been extraordinary—for example, that Chernobyl wasn't so bad. Imagine further that the public learned that despite all the hype about homeland security, a powerful industry and its captured regulatory agency had succeeded in blocking security measures that would prevent those weapons from being used against the U.

But one needn't imagine—it's the NRC's latest dirty little secret. See 10 CFR David Orrik to Samuel Collins, August 7, Section Richard A. Tom Ridge, Office of Homeland Security. William T. O'Connor Jr. McCollum, Jr. Edward J. Markey, U. House of Representatives. Drega Incident. Douglas M. Chapin et al. Skip to main content. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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Thorium and the Future of Nuclear Energy

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Nuclear Plant Loses Access to Background Check Database

To allow us to assess your skills and experiences against the hiring criteria please ensure you complete the application in full and attach a resume as well as any other relevant documents that you believe should be included i. Once you have completed and submitted your online application form you will be notified immediately on your screen that your application has been submitted successfully.

You will also receive an auto-generated email from our recruitment system acknowledging receipt of your application. Step 2: Screening and Shortlisting Your application will be reviewed and screened against skills, qualifications and hiring criteria outlined in the job posting. Step 3: Assessment and Interview Candidates may be invited to participate in skills or aptitude assessment testing. Interviews will be behavioural-based interviews conducted by a panel. The U. Nuclear Regulatory Commission NRC and commercial nuclear power industry began addressing concerns about the potential public health and safety impacts of workers being fit for duty in the s.

Most nuclear utilities voluntarily implemented programs during the s. Because the quality of the voluntary programs varied widely, the NRC instituted formal fitness for duty FFD rules in The NRC requires all nuclear power plants to have a program to ensure that individuals given unescorted access do not pose a threat to plant operations.

Even then, employees are granted access only to plant areas where they have a business need.