The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is concerned by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) announcement today that it is only giving Exelon Nuclear a tap on the wrist for the security vulnerabilities caused by sleeping guards at its Peach Bottom nuclear power plant.
"The proposed $65,000 civil penalty does not send a loud message to other power plants about the need to implement new work hour rules that ensure security personnel remain capable of safely performing their duties," says Peter Stockton, POGO Senior Investigator. "The proposed fine probably doesn't even cover the cost of NRC's investigation into the matter, much less emphasize the importance of plant security."
POGO is recommending a serious revamping of the fee structure to provide a real deterrent when licensees violate NRC requirements.
POGO has closely followed the NRC's efforts to address the problem of overworked guards since its 2002 report Nuclear Power Plant Security: Voices from Inside the Fences. The report found that security guards at the nation's nuclear power plants were being excessively overworked post-9/11, leading to fatigue and raising doubts about their ability to keep facilities secure.