IMPROVEMENT IN NRC’S GRANTING OF UNESCORTED ACCESS AT NUCLEAR FACILITIES

Concerns about the possible threat to plant safety, after it was learned an Al Qaeda sympathizer worked at several nuclear facilities in the United States, were validated in a recently released IG report.  According to the report, Shariff Mobley, who was arrested early this year during a roundup of Al Qaeda sympathizers in Yemen, worked at six nuclear facilities between 2002 and 2008 and had unsupervised access throughout the plants.

This dangerous lapse in plant security was detailed in a report prepared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Inspector General, following an audit request from Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Congressman William Owens (D-NY).  Unfortunately, several key portions of the report have been withheld from public release because they reveal ongoing security vulnerabilities at nuclear facilities. Acknowledging the Commission’s mistakes, the IG recommended that the agency conduct more frequent screening of employees, improve training to encourage the reporting of suspicious incidents, and allow the NRC access to the nation’s terrorist watch-list.

One has to wonder – why weren’t these steps already being taken?

A copy of the report can be found at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/insp-gen/2010/oig-10-a-21-redacted.pdf.

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