WASHINGTON—The following is a statement by the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Joe F. Colvin, in response to the nuclear security legislation proposed today by U.S. Sens. Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton and Joseph Lieberman.
“Because the nuclear energy industry is and has always been committed to ensuring the safety and security of its facilities, it opposes the well-intentioned but misguided concepts of the Reid-Clinton-Lieberman bill. This proposal is a reflexive political response to a problem that does not exist, given the fact that nuclear power plants are private facilities protected by a paramilitary force of highly trained, well-armed, dedicated professionals.
“There is no reason to believe that replacing proven security forces at U.S. nuclear power plants with Nuclear Regulatory Commission security employees would result in increased security beyond the high levels that already exist. Unlike any other industry, security forces at nuclear power plants already are highly regulated by the federal government through the NRC. And all of our security professionals already are subjected to strict hiring standards, comprehensive FBI background checks and other appropriate reviews before and during employment at our plants.
“To its detriment, this legislative proposal leapfrogs a top-to-bottom review of security requirements that the NRC currently is conducting. And, at a time when the United States should take a comprehensive approach to examining security within the nation’s critical infrastructure, this proposal instead offers a piecemeal approach that would make the NRC the only federal agency to muster its own military force.
“NEI is considering a wide range of NRC and legislative concepts to recommend to Congress as part of a comprehensive review of critical infrastructure security. The industry will continue to work with the NRC, the Office of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy and Congress to ensure that there is a seamless responsibility among industry and government entities for protection of our facilities.”
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org .