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Assault Rifles Likely for Spent Nuke Fuel Spots

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to add certain spent fuel installations to a proposed rule that allows security personnel at nuclear facilities to carry weapons, such as machine guns and semi-automatic assault rifles. The types of facilities for which the rule already was proposed are nuclear reactors and places at which high-level radioactive waste is stored.

President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act into law in 2005, a section of which authorizes the NRC to enhance security at nuclear facilities, including allowing security personnel at licensed nuclear facilities to carry so-called "enhanced weapons" such as machine guns and semi-automatic assault rifles.

In February 2011, the NRC proposed amending the act's firearms guidelines to include requirements for background checks and notifications for lost or stolen weapons.

This action is a supplemental proposal addressing the application for "enhanced weapons" and mandatory background checks for at-reactor independent spent fuel storage installations (ISFSI). An "at-reactor" ISFSI is one whose physical security program is conducted as a support activity of the co-located licensed power reactor facility, according to the supplemental proposal.

The NRC invites comments on the proposed rule by February 25.

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