November 19, 2001
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Democratic senators said last week they plan to soon introduce legislation that would station federal agents at the nation’s 103 nuclear power plants to guard against security threats. Assistant Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York said they would offer the bill when Congress returns from its Thanksgiving holiday. Details about the number of federal planned bill were not immediately available.
Current security measures are handled by individual plant operators, who have been on high alert since the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. A few state governors have assigned National Guard units to nuclear power plants as an extra precaution.
After passing an airline safety bill last week, the Senate should “focus the same energy to improve safety at nuclear power plants,” Reid said in a statement.
“If professional law enforcement agents are the right answer for America’s airports, then surely they are also the answer for guarding America’s nuclear reactors,” he said.
New York has six nuclear plants, including the Indian Point-2 plant, within close proximity to New York City.
“We cannot continue with a piecemeal approach of no-fly zones and Coast Guard patrols that are here one day and gone the next,” Clinton said.
Both senators serve on the Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the commercial nuclear power industry.