Encyclopedia of Security and Emergency Management

Living Edition
| Editors: Lauren R. Shapiro, Marie-Helen Maras

Critical Infrastructure: Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector

  • Adam D. WilliamsEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69891-5_92-1


Nuclear reactors provide several key societal benefits – including electricity generation and industrial/medical isotope production – that need to be protected against malicious activities.


Nuclear technologies provide a range of benefits to the society. These benefits include reduced carbon emission electricity production, seawater desalination, generating radionuclides to serve various medical needs (including cancer treatments), and advanced technological development. As such, these activities and facilities are assessed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be critical because:

a significant incident or failure…would likely result in extremely high economic costs, major onsite and/or offsite property damage, and evacuations…[as well as] long-term cleanup costs and economic damage to the local region. (DHS 2015, p. 9)

Therefore, to ensure these benefits are realized, facilities hosting these technologies fall under the purview of the US Department...


Reactor security Nuclear materials 
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  10. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2015). Nuclear reactors, materials, and waste sector-specific plan: An Annex to the NIPP 2013. https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/nipp-ssp-nuclear-2015-508.pdf.
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Further Reading

  1. Behrens, C., & Holt, M. (2005). Nuclear power plants: Vulnerability to terrorists. Congressional Research Service, Report for Congress RS21131.Google Scholar
  2. International Atomic Energy Agency. (2011). Nuclear security recommendations on physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities (INFCIRC/225/Revision 5). Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency.Google Scholar
  3. U.S. Code of Federal Regulations. (2017). Part 73 – Physical Protection of Plants and Materials (10 C.F.R. 73).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Global Security & CooperationSandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA