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Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report
security issues. The committee received numerous comments from industry representatives about the lack of information sharing by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the vulnerability analyses described in Chapter 3. These representatives noted that information flow was predominately in one direction: from the industry to the Commission. The Commission was not providing a reciprocal flow of information that could help the industry better understand and take early actions to address identified vulnerabilities.
Restrictions on information sharing by the Commission have resulted in missed opportunities in at least two cases observed by the committee. Analyses of aircraft impacts into power plant structures described in Chapter 3 were being carried out independently by Sandia for the Commission and by EPRI for the nuclear power industry. Because of classification restrictions, EPRI was not provided with information about the Sandia work, including the results of physical tests that would have helped EPRI validate its models. Both Sandia and the industry would have benefited had their analysts been able to talk with each other about their models, assumptions, and results while the analyses were in progress. When the EPRI work was completed the Commission declared it to be safeguards information.1 As a consequence, some of the EPRI analysts who generated the results no longer had access to them, and the results could not be shared widely within industry.
A similar situation exists with respect to the ENTERGY Corp, spent fuel pool separate effects analyses described in Chapter 3. ENTERGY is using similar approaches and models as Sandia but has received little or no guidance from Commission staff about whether the results are realistic or consistent. The ENTERGY analysts told the committee that they would have benefited had they been able to compare and discuss their approaches and results with Sandia analysts. Sandia analysts were prevented from doing so because of classification issues. Sharing of ENTERGY’s results within the company or across industry may be problematical if they are determined to be classified or safeguards information by the Commission.
Several Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff also privately expressed to the committee their frustration at the difficulty in sharing information that they know would be useful to industry. In fact, from the contacts the committee had, there does not appear to be a lack of willingness to share information at the working staff level within the Commission. Rather, it seems to be an issue of getting permission from upper management and addressing the classification restrictions.
Much of the difficulty in sharing this information appears to arise because the information is considered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to be safeguards information or in some cases even classified national security information. Industry analysts and decision makers generally do not have the appropriate personal security clearances2 to access this information. The committee learned that the Commission is making efforts to share more of this information with some industry representatives. The industry will be responsible for implementing any changes to spent fuel storage to make it less vulnerable to terrorist attack. Clearly, therefore, the industry needs to understand the results of the
Safeguards information is defined in section 147 of the Atomic Energy Act and in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 10, Part 73.2. See the glossary for a definition. Authority for designation of safeguards resides with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
In fact, a personnel security clearance is not required to access safeguards information. One only needs to be of “good character” and have a “need to know” as determined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.