In 2005, BNFL, the world's largest nuclear management specialist was the first Nuclear Plant in the UK to deploy biometric technology at its Sellafield plant in Seascale, Cumbria. Over 90% of American nuclear sites and 60% of Japanese sites had already been securing their sites with hand recognition technology.
The objective was to significantly improve security at key secure access points across the Category 1 Secure site. BNFL already had a card system in place and required a solution that could improve the existing format, be cost effective and meet the primary security objective.
Hand geometry recognition was selected over competing technologies for two key reasons; reliability and its ability to cope with high numbers of users. BNFL has some 20,000 pass holders that needed to be enrolled (initial data capture) and then use the card on a daily basis.
It was possible to integrate the biometric technology with HID's iCLASS template on the existing cards. This enables a user's hand geometry template to be stored on the card itself and not on a biometric device or central database.
This delivered multiple benefits; making the solution totally portable, allowing the technology to be deployed anywhere across the site (or any other site). There was no need to provide a data network between the readers for template distribution and management. The technology was also integrated with the existing pin technology which acts as a third level of authentication, further reinforcing security. In order to gain access to some points, the user must own a valid card, have the matching hand and know a unique PIN number.