US nuclear agency seeks comment on counterfeits

Nuclear plantThe Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the US is examining measures designed to stop counterfeit, fraudulent and suspect items (CFSI) entering the supply chain.

The agency has just published a new regulatory issue summary (RIS) to draw attention to existing
NRC regulations encouraging stakeholders in the supply chain to prevent CFSIs being acquired or used in nuclear facilities, and also check that its safeguards are still up to scratch.

"The increasing prevalence of CFSI in other industries may present challenges to the nuclear industry’s supply chain," says the 13-page document, which is open for comment until November 3.

"As new occurrences and methods of counterfeit and fraudulent activity increase in other industrial sectors, it is in the interest of the commercial nuclear industry to evaluate its approach."

The NRC has published a series of regulations and guidances in recent years on topics such as staff training to spot counterfeits parts, along with information on specific threats such as fake fire protection equipment and the actions of a vendor in 2013 which was found to have destroyed serial numbers on components to mask their true origin.

At the moment the NRC's regulations focus on the use of a quality assurance-based approach to anti-CFSI activities, with additional stipulations such as mandatory reporting of CFSI incidents and procedures laid down for the disposal of spurious parts.

The agency also inspects vendors of nuclear parts against rigorous standards and investigates reports of defective or suspect items.

Other US federal departments, notably the military and NASA, have started to adopt or look into the use of technology such as DNA marking of 'mission-critical' components in a bid to thwart counterfeiting, but as yet the NRC has made no public announcement in that area.

Reports of CFSIs entering the supply chain have thankfully not been common, according to the NRC, but it believes the trend toward a more globalised supply chain creates new vulnerabilities in the nuclear industry.

Last year, the authorities in South Korea started an investigation after it was discovered that parts delivered to some of the country's reactors had forged safety certificates.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top