Physical protection

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority imposes requirements for the physical protection of nuclear facilities and transports, for example protection against attacks and thefts of nuclear material. We monitor and check that the nuclear power industry complies with these requirements. We also help to ensure interaction between man, technology and organisation in a way so that physical protection performs as intended.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority develops its regulatory framework governing the physical protection of nuclear facilities on the basis of current legislation. Swedish legislation stipulates that a party conducting a nuclear activity is required to take action against sabotage, for example. At the facilities, physical protection is (among other things) in the form of fencing, doors, locks and alarms. Physical protection also encompasses the work procedures and skills of employees who work with protection of a facility.

Since the events at the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001, we have placed a greater focus on protection against acts whose aim is to bring about a discharge of radioactive material. Together with the Swedish Security Service and the National Police Board, we continually review risk levels and discuss development of our regulations.

These regulations have a special focus on preventing discharges of radioactive material as a consequence of sabotage as well as preventing theft and proliferation of nuclear weapons. There are current regulations in force governing physical protection of nuclear facilities and in the future we will also develop regulations concerning physical protection of sources of radioactivity and other radioactive sources as well as transports of this category of material.

Nuclear power industry responsible for safety

The licence holders of Swedish nuclear facilities are also liable to set up a system for protection so that the facilities are in compliance with our regulations. The facilities must have an approved plan in place for their physical protection; what’s more, they must also notify us of proposed changes to this protection. This gives us the opportunity to review the proposals and impose additional requirements as necessary before the modifications are carried out.

We inspect and monitor work activities at the facilities to ensure that they maintain their physical protection in accordance with our regulations. We look into aspects such as surveillance equipment and physical barriers, the content of procedures and instructions, security screening of personnel and access control including security checks. 

Physical protection in connection with transports

We also grant authorisation for transports of nuclear material, for example fresh nuclear fuel to the nuclear power plants and spent nuclear fuel to be shipped from a nuclear power plant to the interim storage facility Clab in Oskarshamn. A precondition for our granting this kind of authorisation is that the party in charge of the transport must ensure that there will be no breaks in the transport chain, that the location of the transport is always known and that measures have been taken to prevent theft.

Man-technology-organisation interaction plays a key role

The performance of physical protection presupposes that the people working with it have good preconditions for managing their tasks. This is why the Authority also reviews protective work from the perspective of Man-Technology-Organisation (‘MTO’). This for example means that we check whether a facility has a sufficient number of employees having the right professional skills and that they have good prerequisites for work, for instance, the alarm operators of a facility's central alarm station where all surveillance equipment is monitored.