Audit: Changes Needed To Make Nuke Plants Secure
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A federal audit set to be released Monday calls for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to improve nuclear power plant security against infiltration by potential terrorists.
An outline of the findings was provided to The Associated Press by Sen. Charles Schumer of New York. Schumer had called for the audit by the NRC’s inspector general in March after a suspected al-Qaida member, Sharif Mobley, was found to have worked in a New Jersey nuclear power plant for six years.
The audit recommends additional training in identifying suspected terrorists, greater access to criminal databases by the NRC, stepped up “re-screening” of power plant employees and notifying plant operators of foreign travel.
“The Mobley arrest showed that we had to devise and implement a much tougher security system to protect our nuclear plants from infiltration,” Schumer said. “The NRC truly stepped up to the plate and provided concrete, actionable recommendations that can be put in place immediately.”
Schumer said the recommendations must be acted upon within 30 days.
The suspect is in Yemen now. He had passed criminal background checks and worked at several nuclear power plants without incident. Mobley worked as a laborer at several nuclear power plants, but there is no indication that his work had any connection to his alleged involvement with terror groups.
Schumer was expected to release documents related to the audit and security at the plants in a news conference on Monday.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)