Security arrangements against the theft of nuclear materials ensure that material of potential proliferation concern is appropriately protected from wrongful use. It complements the nuclear material and accountancy 'safeguards' system. It is also important that nuclear facilities and nuclear material are protected against criminal or malevolent acts because of the potential risk to public health, safety and the environment. Security at nuclear sites is kept under regular review in the light of the prevailing threat and has been significantly enhanced since the terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001.
BERR has policy responsibility for the security of the UK's civil nuclear sites. BERR participates in the international debate about standards of physical protection and ensures through our national regulations that UK civil nuclear material and facilities meet international obligations and guidance on security measures for them, taking into account the likely level of the threat against them.
A legal framework is in place for security regulation and arrangements in place include the issue of technical guidance, regular inspections and security exercises.
The Nuclear Industries Security Regulations (2003) (amended) (NISR) make provision for the protection of nuclear material, both on sites and in transit, against the risks of theft and sabotage, and for the protection of sensitive nuclear information, such as site security arrangements. The Uranium Enrichment Technology (Prohibition on Disclosure) Regulations 2004 make it an offence to make an unauthorised disclosure of uranium enrichment technology. This technology is used in the civil nuclear industry and can also be used in the development of nuclear weapons.
On 25th November 2006 the Nuclear Industries Security (Amendment) Regulations 2006 came into force, which ensure complete coverage over the industry including new bodies such as the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), as well as extending coverage to include uranium enrichment technology off-site and uranium enrichment software on-site and correcting a minor reporting anomaly in the regulations. Revised guidance was also isssued to the industry by the security regulator.