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Nearly 500 Former Nuke Regulators Still Have ‘Unauthorized’ Facility Access

Nearly 500 terminated federal employees could gain “unauthorized physical access” to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) facilities because the agency didn’t take back their security cards, according to a government watchdog.

Of 1,452 terminated Personal Identity Verification cards, which NRC employees use to access agency facilities, 487 were not collected.

Security “card retrieval does not always occur, and retrieval procedures have not been established to ensure collection,” NRC’s inspector general reported Wednesday. “As a result, there is a risk of unauthorized physical access to NRC and other federal facilities.”

The IG report said “this occurs because management has not developed measures to enforce return requirements. The agency does not impose a financial consequence for failure to return the card.”

The cards are designed “to protect and to strengthen the security of both employees’ and contractors’ information and physical access to secured areas.” Agencies are required “to swiftly revoke” access to facilities after an employee is terminated.

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Of the 487 uncollected cards, whose respective employees were terminated between January, 2014, and November, 2015, “74 percent were assigned to contractors and 20 percent belonged to employees,” the report said. The IG was unsure where the remaining 6 percent were assigned.

“There may be a span of time when NRC security does not know that a contractor no longer requires access,” the report said.

Security “card retrieval is a longstanding issue for NRC,” the report said. Security badges weren’t always retrieved after an employee left the agency, the IG reported in 2007.

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