Security Teams Toughen Training Program
Fein, Geoff S., National Defense
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the power plant industry are laying the groundwork for creating an adversary team to test security at the 104 licensed facilities in the United States. Their goal is to standardize force-on-force training at the nation's nuclear power plants.
The adversary unit would be modeled after the Department of Energy's Composite Adversary Team. The DOE CAT is made up of security guards from nuclear facilities. They train together using the tactics and weapons that terrorists use.
NRC officials hope the nuclear industry begins training an adversary team by the fall. Although it will differ from the DOE CAT, the objectives are much the same--to see how well a facility's security holds up against a terrorist threat and to fix any deficiencies.
The NRC does not own or operate any facilities. It is a regulatory agency that establishes plant standards, inspects, and evaluates operations to ensure safety and compliance with its regulations. Commission evaluations include on-site emergency preparedness activities.
The exact composition of the team is classified, according to Alan Madison, chief of security performance evaluation at the NRC.
Because the nuclear power plants are owned privately, industry is responsible for fielding the team, said Madison.
Since 9/11, the approach to security has changed--from haphazard procedures to a more structured system that emphasizes consistency.
The nuclear power industry stepped up security and increased the scope and intensity of training since 9/11, said Madison. But there is still a need to further develop the ability to defend plants against a terrorist attack.
In April 2003, the NRC set an October 2004 deadline for industry to implement changes in security practices and to set up the adversary teams.
"I believe we can meet the objectives," Madison said.
Industry will be able to form its adversary team either by drafting the members from ranks of industry security personnel or by contracting with a private security company. All that really matters is that the team meet the criteria established by the NRC, said Madison.
"We are working to develop criteria for industry," he said.
Once the team is in place, individual sites will contact the agency in charge of the program to set up a training event, said Madison. He expects there will be a few kinks in the beginning, but they will be ironed out over time.
"[We're] not sure how training will work," he said. "We'll adjust it, look at the output" and determine if it meets the NRC's needs.
Security at all plants is tested every three years. However, some Facilities are tested more often, said Madison.
For a training event, industry is notified of the intent to perform an exercise. Madison visits the plant a few weeks before the exercise.
Multiple tabletop drills, using a mock-up of the facility, are run to expose weaknesses in security, said Madison. The roles of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and emergency planners also are examined during the tabletop drill. This helps planners come up with tactics for the live exercise.
Armed with the information gleaned from the site tour and the tabletop exercises, planners draw up a strategy for a series of commando-style attacks seeking to expose deficiencies in security. The adversary team's goal is to cause an accident that would damage the reactor's core. The security force is challenged with interdicting the mock terrorists.
The entire force-on-force exercise takes several days.
During the exercise, normal security at the site remains in place and is not involved in the drill. All weapons and explosives are simulated.
"Our intent is not to cause personnel or the facility any harm," said Madison. "We develop a good, safe scenario."
In 2002, the NRC ran tabletop drills with a selected group of eight nuclear plants. Other plants were allowed to observe the exercises, said Madison.
In 2003, industry and the NRC ran a pilot exercise program using force-on-force at 15 sites. That helped officials study the process and determine the benefits of the training.
"The lessons learned showed we needed a CAT-like team," he said.
"The NRC and DOE are the only two active civilian organizations with counter-terrorism units on site," said Dennis Collins, owner of Nuclear Security Services Corp. The Illinois-based company is vying for the contract to train the nuclear industry's adversary team.
This spring, meanwhile, the Department of Energy and the nuclear power industry will send their adversary teams to eastern Washington state to train in tactical entry and assault and terrorist response at the Volpentest Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response (Hammer) training and education center.
The facility, located on the 560-square mile Hanford nuclear reservation, has been offering training in hazardous materials response, search and rescue, drug and biological inspections, and border enforcement since 1997.
In recent years, Hammer has been training U.S. and foreign customs agents to detect illegal shipments of chemical, biological and radiological materials. The Idaho National Guard spent a week at the site training a Civil Support Team.
The Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Incident Response Force from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, at Indian Head, Md., held an exercise at Hammer in October 2001. A Special Forces team from Fort Lewis, Wash., trained at Hammer in 2000 and 2001, said Tom DiDomenico, program manager for Fluor Hanford.
The Hanford Patrol (which provides security for the neighboring Hanford nuclear waste site) and its Composite Adversary Team, regularly trains at Hammer.
In November, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission sent a team to Hammer to train as an adversary team. Like its counterparts in the United Stares, the CNSC wants to develop a unit to challenge security at Canadian nuclear power facilities. The 15 Canadians trained alongside security personnel from the U.S. nuclear power industry.
"This was the first CAT team to train at Hammer," said Gary Karnofski, technical specialist at Flour Hanford.
The Canadian team used four buildings at the facility for tactical entry and assault exercises, said DiDomenico.
They also used the Columbia generating station, a turbine building that was 90 percent complete before construction was halted. The closed nuclear power plant often is used for adversary training.
Dennis Collins, of NSSC, led the joint Canadian-U.S. adversary team training exercises at Hammer.
"The Hammer facility was very useful in preparing our CAT teams for future missions," he said.
There were 11 participants from various U.S. nuclear power sites wanting to be trained at the same level as the DOE CAT, said Collins.
In May, a NRC adversary team will train for the first time at Hammer. In June, the DOE will send a CAT for its first training exercise in Washington state.
Besides hosting adversary teams, Hammer set up training scenarios for law enforcement and emergency first responders. Hammer has a 1.3-mile emergency vehicle operations course for pursuit driving. Although the facility is used primarily by the Hanford Patrol, it is available for other agencies.
But what makes Hammer unique is that it can set up just about any training scenario and draw from a pod of experts (with backgrounds ranging from hazardous materials handling to terrorist response) to help make the exercise as real as possible.
"Our role can be a variety of things. We can find experts and review training plans for security," said DiDomenico. "Our primary philosophy is not to direct how the training happens. We can tailor the training to meet [the customer's] needs."
The Hammer site might rival many Hollywood studio backlots with its assortment of props--from a railcar-truck burn pad that simulates a transportation accident to a non-functioning nuclear power plant.
The site has a 30-foot by 40-foot, three-story search-and-rescue building that can be filled with smoke to expose personnel to simulated hazardous conditions. The interior of the building also has a reconfigurable maze and collapsing stairway.
There is a six-story concrete training tower that can be outfitted with smoke generators to mimic structure fires. The first two floors simulate a laboratory. The tower is used extensively for urban search and rescue, building siege, high-rise fire training, rappelling and laboratory investigation.
A liquid petroleum gas burn pad simulates tank fires and can be used for rank cooling exercises. A flammable liquid burn pad helps to learn how to control the spread of a fire.
Storage tank props are used for confined space training and spill or leak mitigation.
A hazardous material training pad simulates a storage facility or decontamination zone. Equipment can be brought in to represent specific situations.
The railroad tank car prop offers a variety of emergency response and hazardous and radioactive waste cleanup scenarios. The set consists of a derailed tank car and upright cars on a 200-foot stretch of track.
A transportation accident pad includes an overturned fuel truck and a leaking rail car. A series of 10 18-inch to 30-inch diameter pipes at or below grade make up the confined space training site. An above-ground pipeline can be used for simulating flammable liquid or gas leaks. There is a 1.3 million-gallon pond for hazardous-materials clean up, dive, rescue and water exercises.
Border security personnel can train at an U.S. State Department designed Port of Entry property. It includes a vehicle inspection pit, personnel receiving area and a loading dock.
In addition, Hammer also has a law enforcement campus consisting of a 100-yard range, 600-yard precision rifle range, shooting simulator, obstacle course, tactical entry building and classrooms.
Karnofski said the staff at the training site allow flexibility in setting up scenarions. For example, for the Marine Corps CBIRF, Hammer personnel needed to find fire fighters to participate in the training and had to set up rappelling ropes on the training tower. The Marines also wanted to use the facility's burn building for tear-gas training.
On another occasions, a special weapons and tactics team wanted to do confined space training. Special tanks were brought in for the scenario. A few days later another client asked to use the tanks for tear gas training, said Karnofski.
"We had to turn the tanks into buildings," he said. "It all depends on what the customer wants.... We set up exercises from local incidents to multi-state agencies."
Since 9/11, training requests have escalated, said Karnofski. Agencies axe evaluating multiple training options.
Hammer is currently designing civil support exercises for National Guard units from Washington and neighboring states, said DiDomenico.…
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Publication information: Article title: Security Teams Toughen Training Program. Contributors: Fein, Geoff S. - Author. Magazine title: National Defense. Volume: 88. Issue: 605 Publication date: April 2004. Page number: 43+. © 2009 National Defense Industrial Association. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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