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and Associates 502 W. 15th Street Austin, Texas 78701 REALTOR Representing all types of properties in Austin and Central Texas Interesting & unusual property a specialty. 477-3651 ANDERSON & COMPANY corFEE TEA SPICES AUSTIN, TEXAS 75131 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip Postmaster: If undeliverable, send Form 3579 to The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 aged. Someone had poured a caustic substance on the valuable fuel rods owned by the Virginia Electric Power Co. A month later, two Vepco employees training to be reactor operators held a press conference and explained that they had done the damage to dramatize alleged safety problems at the Surry plant. The NRC refuted most of their claims in the subsequent investigation. The two were convicted on state charges and are now in prison. To safeguards analysts these incidents marked the emergence of a new phenomenon in the nuclear industry, malevolent acts by insiders. Reseach since then has focused more heavily on potential problems from people inside the system. While these studies were still in progress, DOE officials got something else to think about. Last fall, the FBI discovered that 200 employees at the Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque were using a government computer for such personal business as keeping track of a loan-repayment schedule and cataloguing a beer-can collection. One programmer was using the computer to develop an accounting system for bookies. The incident wasn’t as serious as the two occurrences of sabotage because no malevolence was involved at Sandia, just the normal exuberant creativity of computer enthusiasts. Nevertheless, the unusual use of the computer illustrated an absence of internal controls and a vulnerability to potential sabotage. These revelations were especially embarrassing because the lab, operated by Western Electric Co., is part of DOE’s weapons complex and conducts most of the research on security hardware and procedures. The Maze The key elements in the safeguarding of nuclear materials are common knowledge: access control, multiple barriers, accounting measures, reliable communications, and rapid response forces. The system begins with background checks, usually by the FBI, when an employee is hired. Access to nuclear materials is restricted to people with proper security clearance. This procedure is far from foolproof, however. The growing legal protections assuring the right of privacy, officials complain, make the job 24 JULY 24, 1981 of background checks much tougher. Clever imposters and unreliable applicants occasionally slip through. The process may tend to discourage bad apples from applying rather than expose them, Issacs explained. Therefore, the first line of defense remains physical protection: fences and vaults, locks and alarms, guards and guns. That’s where most of the space-age hardware comes into play. The goal is to assure immediate detection of a threat and a quick reaction. In theory, before intruders could breach the outer fences, guards would be shooting at them. By then, reinforcements from local police agencies, military units and the FBI would already be on the way. The plan envisions that the attackers would be successful at first, but they would encounter a series of obstacles, “defense in depth,” and would have to fight while breaching each of them. Issacs noted that the adversaries would have to work their way through a maze and win at every juncture. The barriers are designed to be diverse. A wide range of skills, from knowledge of electronics and explosives to mastery of computers, would be required to defeat them. This diversity places a premium on the training and resources of the attackers and increases the probability of failure when one of the intruders is killed. The hostile force would have to fight its way out of the plant as well as in. Though Issacs was speaking of the nuclear weapons plants under the control of DOE, the same general principles apply to the safeguarding of nuclear power plants as well. The government agencies try to adhere to the doctrine of “comparability” that nuclear materials of comparable attractiveness for theft or diversion will be accorded comparable levels of protection, regardless of the agency with jurisdiction. Periodically, representatives of DOE, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Defense meet to discuss common standards. The safeguards ap plied by all three, therefore, are similar. Because nuclear power plants, do not contain material as readily converted to bombs as the weapons-grade material handled by DOE facilities, they are not as strongly defended. Still, much of the esoteric hardware first deployed at the weapons plants increasingly is being installed at nuclear power plants. No ‘Solution’ Countering the insider threat is a more subtle discipline a chess match that is less likely to end in a shoot-out. The security hardware like portal monitors is a substantial deterrent, but the best defenses are built into design and accounting. Increasingly, the production activities in the weapons plants are being automated and controlled remotely. It is an important side effect of a plant design which isolates employees from nuclear material that it also reduces opportunities for theft or diversion. The most effective countermeasure, however, is a fast, accurate, sensitive system of measurement and accounting that can detect very small thefts as they occur. Such highly computerized systems are already used in some of the weapons plants and are under development in others. The first such system was installed at the plutoniumfabrication at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1978. \(A relatively unsophisticated computer tracking system uncovered the theft from GE’s Wilmington plant hours before the extortion There are no absolute or static answers to the nature of the threat to nuclear material and to society. The threat and the possible responses are always changing. The chances of success or failure of the safeguards system, and the resulting effects on the public, depend on the deliberate human actions of the safeguarders and their adversaries on their willful intent. “It’s not a problem that can be solved,” Issacs said. “It’s an ongoing concern.”