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Insider threats targeting nuclear plants have always been a concern. A stressful pandemic exacerbates those existing risks.

Insider Threats and Nuclear Security During a Pandemic

Insider Threats and Nuclear Security During a Pandemic

Insider threats targeting nuclear plants have always been a concern. A stressful pandemic exacerbates those existing risks.
The Diplomat, By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, April 23, 2021  Nuclear security is a challenge in the best of circumstances. Those challenges may increase many times over amid the COVID-19 pandemic because government may not fully grasp the consequences and spillover effects of policies they adopt to deal with the pandemic on seemingly unrelated issues. For example, COVID-19 has undoubtedly resulted in enormous economic and social pressures across many societies and consequently, is likely to lead to greater psychological stresses. There is no doubt this will also directly or indirectly affect personnel in sensitive nuclear facilities, leading to potential insider threats. The Review Conference of the Parties to the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) in Vienna this July is a good opportunity to review the status of Personnel Reliability Programs (PRPs) while locating insider threats as part of broader physical protection measures as well.  

In September 2020, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held discussions over the impact of the pandemic on nuclear plant operations, safety, and security during operations under COVID-19 circumstances, radiation protection, and emergency preparedness. These discussions occurred in the context of the annual meeting of the International Nuclear Safety Group (INSAG), a group of top experts from around the world who debate and advise on nuclear safety issues. The experts highlighted issues like resilience and information exchange as key during these unprecedented times…………

Insider threats could possibly worsen during extremely stressful conditions like the ongoing pandemic………

Even though insider threats may be rare, the consequences are serious when they do occur.  Almost all the recent incidents of nuclear thefts or losses of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) and Plutonium (Pu) have occurred with the help of an employee, or even worse, the crime has itself been committed by an employee. This highlights the vulnerabilities and the salience of this growing threat. …………

The fact that such insider threat possibilities in the context of the pandemic have not figured prominently in national or international discussions should be of concern. The July Review Conference of the Parties to the Amendment to the CPPNM is a useful opportunity to highlight the importance of insider threats and take appropriate steps both at the global and national levels.  https://thediplomat.com/2021/04/insider-threats-and-nuclear-security-during-a-pandemic/

April 24, 2021 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, safety

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