NRC Enhances its Fight Against Counterfeits

Following the signing ceremony on July 11, 2012, IPR Center Director Lev Kubiak (left) and NRC Office of Investigations Director Cheryl L. McCrary (right) exchanged seals at the IPR Center.
Counterfeit Gucci bags are bad news. So are fraudulent money-making schemes and substandard materials used in your home repair. But counterfeit, fraudulent and suspect parts and equipment are particularly bad news from the viewpoint of the NRC’s Office of Investigations when it comes to keeping people and the environment safe from wrongdoers.

So this week, the NRC became the 21st partner agency to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. The Center is run by the Homeland Security Investigations unit of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a part of the Department of Homeland Security. This collaboration puts the NRC at the table with other federal and international law enforcement agencies.

The supply chain in the nuclear industry has changed considerably with globalization, and that requires that we change with it. We’re talking about a vast array of parts and equipment coming not only from within the United States, but also from overseas. For parts and supplies destined for the nuclear industry, such as valves, circuit breakers, and steel, we have to work closer with other law enforcement agencies to identify and investigate the bad actors.

While reports of this kind of substandard manufacturing have not been common, the trend toward a more globalized supply chain creates new challenges in the fight against the potential introduction of counterfeit parts into the nuclear industry.

We take our mission of protecting people and the environment seriously and recognize the validity of this potential problem. Partnering with the IPR Center is a proactive initiative designed to fight this type of wrongdoing and to minimize any potential negative impact it may have on public health and safety.

This new collaboration will immediately enhance information sharing between us and the partner agencies. It allows us to more effectively identify bad actors and coordinate investigative resources amongst the participating agencies. This gives us an early alert to potential problems, and extra eyes and ears around the world.

Substandard parts can potentially disrupt the safe operation of a plant or devices with a nuclear source. That can’t happen. Parts and equipment must work as intended. Our new partnership gives us a new, improved tool in the fight to keep America safe.

Cheryl McCrary
Director, Office of Investigations
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