Safety Culture and Nuclear Security

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Commission issued orders enhancing security at facilities whose operations, if attacked, could have an impact on public health and safety. During the early years of implementation of these security enhancements, several violations of the Commission's security requirements were identified in which the licensee's failure to cultivate a positive safety culture impacted the effectiveness of the licensee's security program. The most visible of these involved security officers sleeping in a "ready room" while on shift at a nuclear power plant. Most of the weaknesses involved inadequate management oversight of security, lack of a questioning attitude within the security organization, complacency, barriers to raising concerns about security issues, and inadequate training of security personnel.

As stated in the Safety Culture Policy Statement, organizations should ensure that personnel in the safety and security sectors have an appreciation for the importance of each, emphasizing the need for integration and balance to achieve both safety and security in their activities. Safety and security activities are closely intertwined. While many safety and security activities complement each other, there may be instances in which safety and security interests create competing goals. It is important that consideration of these activities be integrated so as not to diminish or adversely affect either; thus, mechanisms should be established to identify and resolve these differences. A safety culture that accomplishes this would include all nuclear safety and security issues associated with NRC regulated activities.

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