The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is responsible for providing regulatory oversight of nuclear power plant safety. This includes routine inspections, as well as assessments where a specially trained simulated adversary attacks the plant. The NRC conducts these force-versus-force exercises at each nuclear power plant at least once every three years. The ultimate responsibility for the safety of nuclear installations and the fuel cycle rests with national governments.
They must define the roles and responsibilities of regulatory and other competent authorities, as well as operators. One of the most important components of safety programs in nuclear power facilities is the security force. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) works to contribute to global efforts to achieve effective safety wherever nuclear and other radioactive materials are used, stored or transported, as well as facilities associated with these activities. The nuclear power industry has improved reactor safety and performance, and proposed new and safer reactor designs.
During the 1970s, the peace movement began campaigning against nuclear energy by linking it to the production of plutonium and, therefore, tendentiously, to the possession of nuclear weapons. This covers nuclear power plants and all other nuclear facilities, the transport of nuclear materials, and the use and storage of nuclear materials for medical, energy, industrial and military uses. Article 56 of the 1979 Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions contains a provision stating that nuclear power plants “shall not become the object of attack, even if these objects are military objectives, if such an attack may result in the release of dangerous forces and consequent serious losses among the population civil.” The potential threat of nuclear terrorism also provoked another dimension to the debate within civil society about the risks posed by nuclear technology. Timely exchange of accurate information between the NRC, other federal agencies and the nuclear industry is critical to preventing or mitigating the effects of terrorist attacks. The civil nuclear industry relies on information and communication technology (ICT) systems for a number of functions, just like any other industry.
New nuclear power plants shall be designed, located and constructed in a consistent manner with the objective of preventing accidents in commissioning and operation. The objectives of the convention are to achieve and maintain a high level of nuclear safety worldwide, to establish and maintain effective defenses in nuclear installations against potential radiological hazards and to prevent accidents with radiological consequences. The most important barrier to the release of radioactivity in the event of a plane hitting a nuclear power plant is the containment building and its missile shield.