NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the rules will address requirements for firearms background checks, weapons training, periodic weapons inventories and weapons safety assessments.
Plant operators now need approval from the NRC and ATF (U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) to obtain and use these enhanced weapons. "These weapons will provide an important new capability in protecting nuclear facilities and radioactive materials against terrorists," Sheehan said.
The issue of more firepower for nuclear plant guards was championed after Sept. 11, 2001, by 9th District legislators.
The regulations cover machine guns, short-barreled shotguns and short-barreled rifles. The guidelines were approved by the U.S. Attorney General.Previously, with limited exceptions, only federal, state or local law enforcement officers could lawfully possess machine guns.