Security Technology Executive

NOV-DEC 2017

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38 SECURIT Y TECHNOLOGY E XECUTIVE • November/December 2017 • www. VIDEO TECHNOLOGY N uclear energy is a vital part of our nation's critical infrastructure, making up nearly 20 percent of the total electricity generation for the United States. In fact, nuclear energy is forecasted to be the second fastest growing energy source in the world, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Interna- tional Energy Outlook 2017. As millions of people rely on nuclear facilities to produce power each year, these stations are prime targets for intrusion, cyber breaches, and even radiological sabotage. Video technologies like thermal imaging cameras have proven to be a game-chang- er when it comes to early detection and 24-hour monitoring for perimeter protec- tion; this technology is seeing widespread adoption across this sector. Understanding the Risk and NRC Regulations There are 61 nuclear power plants (99 nuclear power reactors) across the U.S. These nuclear plants generate electricity through fission or the splitting of ura- nium atoms; this results in heat, which turns into steam that spins turbines to generate electricity. During this process, nuclear plants do not emit carbon diox- ide, making nuclear energy one of the few clean-air energy sources. However, these Nuclear Power Plants Turn Up the Security Heat Harsh environment spurs use of thermal video technology on site By John Distelz weig plants do produce small levels of radio- active gases and liquids. Although the amount of radiation produced by nuclear power stations is minimal, it is still imper- ative that these facilities are secure and do not fall into the wrong hands. For this reason, the nuclear energy sector has some of the highest-level secu- rity and safety programs in place­ that are directly enforced by the federal government. Following the September 11 terror- ist attacks, the U.S . Nuclear Regula- tory Committee (NRC) enacted strict requirements and protocols designed to enhance a nuclear facility 's threat recognition, emergency preparedness, incident response and defense against radiological sabotage. In summary, NRC's 73.55 security policy states that nuclear facilities must execute a Commission-approved Physical Security Plan. Tactics must include physical barriers that provide deterrence and restricted access con- trol; intrusion detection systems must also be deployed to identify attempted or actual penetration of the protected area's perimeter and all vital areas such as the reactor control room spent fuel pool and central alarm station. Nuclear facilities must also "provide continuous surveillance, observation and monitor- ing" of the outer zone, or the owner- controlled area, of the premises. The security technology must be able to "detect and deter intruders and ensure the integrity of physical barriers or other components and functions of the onsite physical protection program." For security staff, designing a sys- tem that integrates around-the-clock monitoring for a nuclear plant can be daunting. However, with the right secu- rity technology in place, the task is not only feasible but also cost-effective. Over the years, through testing and success- ful field deployments, thermal cameras have become the solution of choice over low-light cameras to meet the NRC's 24/7 surveillance standard. Low-Light vs. Thermal Cameras Low-light cameras are appealing because they produce color images at night. The challenge is the performance of these cameras is dependent on the light source. Because moonlight and starlight are not sufficient light sources at night, external lights often need to be installed to accompany low-light cameras. This results in greater infrastructure and labor expenses for the end user. Unlike low-light cameras, thermal cameras are not dependent on light. Thermal cameras capture what our eyes cannot see and produce video images based on heat radiation emit - ted by objects and individuals. The

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