NRC chairman strongly backs private security forces at nuclear power plants

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 23, 2002 — Federalizing security workers at commercial nuclear power plants would create more problems than it would solve and would do nothing to increase security, according to Richard Meserve, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), in remarks to the National Press Club on January 18, 2002.

Chairman Meserve strongly backed the professional security officers of the private security industry and the commercial utility companies and the job they are doing at nuclear power plants throughout the country. The Chairman said, “Physical security is very high,” and, “Nuclear power plants are not soft targets.”

When asked if the currently proposed Reid-Markey legislation to federalize security at such plants would help the NRC, Meserve said flatly, “No.” He went on to discuss how federalization would cause significant problems in the strategy and deployment of security and turn the NRC into an administrator of security rather than an independent regulatory agency.

Meserve commented on the backgrounds of the current members of the protective forces, pointing out that more than two-thirds have either military or law enforcement backgrounds.

Don Walker, a member of the board of directors of The National Association of Security Companies (NASCO) and the president of Pinkerton’s, said, “NASCO appreciates very much Chairman Meserve’s support and confidence in the working professionals of our industry. We oppose the Reid-Markey legislation and offer instead to support proposals from Congress or the administration that will increase standards and funding where appropriate.”

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