Select Committee on Trade and Industry Written Evidence


Memorandum by the Office for Civil Nuclear Security


  The Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) is HMG's security regulator for the civil nuclear industry.

  OCNS regulates security arrangements for the protection of nuclear and radioactive material on civil nuclear sites, nuclear transports and sensitive information under the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 and related legislation.


  OCNS has been part of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) since October 2000. Previously it had been the security branch of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

  OCNS has 42 staff, many of whom are specialists whose expertise has been acquired and developed either in the security and intelligence services, the armed forces or the police.

  The OCNS office is at the Harwell nuclear site near Oxford.


  In FY 05/06, the OCNS budget was £2,400k, of which £2,300k was recovered from the industry. The balance was paid by DTI to fund OCNS support to Government.


  There are four distinct, yet inter-related areas of competence:

    —  Site Security: Every nuclear site has an agreed Site Security Plan (SSP) detailing the physical measures designed to protect a nuclear site and the nuclear material it holds. OCNS Inspectors ensure compliance with the SSP and approve amendments, and conduct inspections as appropriate.

    —  Information Security: OCNS Inspectors ensure that sensitive nuclear information is handled and stored in accordance with HMG's protective marking system for documents and electronic media. Activity includes inspection and approval of physical and electronic measures to store, transmit and retrieve sensitive nuclear information and also investigating any loss or compromise of such information.

    —  Personnel Security: All those permanently employed in, or engaged on contract to, the civil nuclear industry, are security cleared commensurate with their level of access to nuclear material. OCNS provides this security vetting service, complying with national guidelines on standards, procedures and appeals.

    —  Transport Security: OCNS regulates the movement of all civil nuclear material by road and rail throughout the UK and worldwide when carried on UK-flagged vessels.


  The Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) provides an armed policing service at selected nuclear sites. Since April 2005, the CNC has been administered by the Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA), a Non Departmental Public Body set up by the Energy Act 2004. OCNS lays down the security standards to be followed by the CNC and the Director, OCNS, chairs the Standing Committee on Police Establishments (SCOPE) which agrees operational police numbers and ranks.


  OCNS has a limited involvement in international nuclear business, designed to promote the UK's interests and to encourage best practice in nuclear matters. Bilateral exchanges occur with a number of foreign nuclear regulatory bodies.

  Notably, OCNS supports the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by providing experts for various purposes, including the Nuclear Security Programme (the Deputy Director, OCNS, has recently led International Physical Protection Advisory Service missions to Kazakhstan and Egypt) and workshops on nuclear security projects.

  OCNS supports the G8 Global Partnership, set up to address the nuclear, chemical and biological legacies in the Former Soviet Union, particularly with advice on security for spent nuclear fuel and nuclear powered ships in Murmansk.


  Director, OCNS, has formal links with the national intelligence services and has prompt access to material relating to nuclear matters. Threat warnings and appropriate responses are disseminated to the industry by OCNS.


  Director, OCNS, reports annually in July to the Minister of State for Energy, Department of Trade and Industry on the state of security in the civil nuclear industry and the effectiveness of security regulation. The Report is placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2006
Prepared 21 December 2006