Critical Infrastructure and National Planning

Critical Infrastructure and National Planning

Monday, February 01, 2021

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Risk Prevention, Protection of Assets, Response, & Recovery

The 2013 Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council report outlines the planning approaches for risk prevention, protection of assets, response, and recovery. This planning is divided by sectors with the nuclear sector being one of the most important. The nuclear planning is outlined with specific initiatives in order to control risk.

Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector provides for the risk management planning in the 2013 report. The key features of this planning include:

· Facilitating additional voluntary security enhancements, such as the Research and Test Reactors Voluntary Security Enhancement Project and Cesium Chloride Irradiator In-Device Delay Program
· Conducting Integrated Response Exercises and other emergency preparedness activities
· Conducting FBI outreach visits to select facilities housing risk-significant radioactive materials and special nuclear material (Homeland Security, 2013)

The nuclear sector is highly regulated and controlled by the federal government. Risk assessment and mitigation is a multiagency planning initiative due to the many areas of overlap within the nuclear sector (Homeland Security, 2013). For example, nuclear energy creates long-term waste that is extremely dangerous (Cravens, 2007). The storage of nuclear fuel waste is controversial as energy plants have run out of space to store them on site. It would seem obvious that the storage of this waste should be kept in facilities that are either remote or in lower population because of the possibilities and risks associated with leakage. However, transporting this waste across states creates environmental and security risks (Homeland Security, 2013). Most of the fear of nuclear waste centers on the long-range problem of storage containers decaying long before the half-life of the nuclear waste has been reached (Cravens, 2007). This is a difficult area because security must be provided in order to control these facilities and monitor them for safety and intrusion. This one example presents transportation issues, storage security risks, and long-term protection of (Homeland Security, 2013)active facilities. Within the scope of this example risk assessment must take into consideration a multitude of factors and scenario planning.

Security and risk management in the nuclear sector is robust. The dangers are mitigated through what Homeland Security refers to as “integrated response capabilities” which take into account the many different points of weakness such as supply chains and information networks (Homeland Security, 2013). This planning is based on securing these assets but also on response planning and working with the private sector to ensure compliance and safety. Such risk planning and response includes:

· Continue to work collaboratively with sector stakeholders to identify, prioritize, and pursue mission- essential research and development needs
· Continue to coordinate with State and local authorities as well as the private sector, as appropriate, to promote adequate, consistent, and integrated response preparedness and coordination across the sector
· Continue to coordinate on cybersecurity issues affecting the Nuclear Sector
· Support radioisotopes supply chain resilience by participating in interagency efforts to enhance supplies of key radioisotopes, such as Molybdenum-99 (Homeland Security, 2013).

The nuclear energy sector has been very successful in the US with mitigating risks and controlling nuclear materials. There has been no major issue of security breach in the US in the last 50 years (Cravens, 2007). One of the strengths of the nuclear sector is that it has a long time to prepare and assess risk. Nuclear materials have been in use for a long time and their dangerous nature demands resilience in the security policies. In contrast, ever changing fields such information technology and the healthcare sector are prone to many issues because of the rapid changing nature of technology. Information technology has many risks that are not being managed properly because they are issues that keep evolving such as outdate and legacy computer systems that have been working since the 1980s and before (Homeland Security, 2013). By comparison, healthcare and information technology reported thousands of breaches in security both physical and electronic (Homeland Security, 2013). The reason for these problems centers on the fact that healthcare and information technology require access for large numbers of users. More users increase the number of points of risk for intrusion. This is a problem that will require more assistance from the private sector to develop policies and systems that reduce the risk while allowing access.


Cravens, G. (2007). Power to Save the World: the Truth about Nuclear Energy. New York: Knopf.

Homeland Security. (2013). Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council. Retrieved from DHS:

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Vincent Triola. Mon, Feb 01, 2021. Critical Infrastructure and National Planning Retrieved from

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