Asan Plenum

Safety and Security Interface in Dealing with Multiple Effect Unintentional and Intentional Acts

– A major disaster is defined as a catastrophic, high-consequence event that a) overwhelms or threatens to overwhelm local, regional or national response capability, and b) is caused by natural phenomenon, massive infrastructure failure, industrial accident, or malevolent action. There are at least three scenarios of multiple effect disasters whose consequences are often beyond the capacity of existing nuclear safety and security practices and which would require a new conceptual and organizational approach involving an integrated management of safety and security.

– As demonstrated by Fukushima accident (scenario one), a multiple effect of the powerful earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the installed safety systems. This case is known in the existing literature as a natech disaster characterized by the following: a) response efforts are required to attend simultaneously to both the technological disaster as well as the triggering natural disaster; b) more than one technological disaster may occur at the same time, as the natural events affect entire local infrastructure or several industrial sites in one area; c) many of the services and utilities expected to be used for technological disaster (water, power, communications, etc.) may not be available due to the combined impact of the natural hazard.

– Scenario two introduces man-made intentional (malevolent) multiple effect events known as maltech events. As adaptive adversaries, persons with malevolent intent not only have the ability to change tactics as an attack unfolds but are also capable of concurrent and/or subsequent multiple attempts against infrastructure. Moreover, they may be tempted to use other toxic material or bio agents to multiply the impact and hamper the remediation stage.

– Scenario three is a combined effect of natech and maltech events when perpetrators’ attempts to attack coincide with heavy pressure on safety systems from severe natural events and the primary focus on sustaining their operation. Under this scenario, the insider threat is much greater because these persons have a much better chance to disrupt safety systems without much help from outside or inside and without being implicated in this act.

– There is a need to clearly understand the synergies and interactions of safety and security as well as their implications for multiple effect scenarios including prevention, preparedness, response, mitigation, relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. A consolidated risk assessment methodology is required to factor in natechs, maltechs, or a combination thereof as emerging and realistic hazards and carry out this assessment on a continuous basis. Confronted with such multiple effect disasters, nuclear infrastructures and their segments need to organize, recruit, train, and manage safety and security staff in a way that would enable the leadership to react with more flexibility and speed to major emergencies. A key to the success of this combined approach is not only to make safety and security cultures co-exist but also effectively reinforce each other.