New Guidelines for US Nuclear Plants

Associated Press Modified: May 16, 2012 at 3:00 am •  Published: May 16, 2012

For the first time in over 30 years the US Government has overhauled its nuclear emergency preparedness program. Critics say the new plan falls short, but the nuclear industry and the US Government think the changes add much needed variety. (May 16)

[LOCATION: VARIOUS] [SOURCE: AP]

[VOICE-OVER]

For the first time since the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island the government has overhauled its nuclear emergency preparedness program for local communities.

Critics say these new guidelines don't address the lessons learned from last year's meltdown in Fukushima, Japan.

[SOT: Phillip Musegaas, Riverkeeper]

"They continue to go forward as if nothing changes."

[VOICE-OVER]

The new guidelines keep the requirement for communities within 10 miles of a nuclear plant to do a full scale emergency exercise every two years.

But the government is pushing back the 50-mile planning exercise from once every 6 years to once every 8 years.

This change has raised the ire of anti-nuclear activists.

[SOT: Phillip Musegaas, Riverkeeper]

"To move the tabletop exercise from every 6 years to every 8 years makes no sense to us, given the need to do more planning not less."]

[VOICE-OVER]

While the 50-mile exercise will be done less often, the new plan does require that communities practice for the possibility of terrorist assault on a plant.

The government and the nuclear lobby say the addition of this exercise is one reason why the new guidelines are an improvement.

[SOT: Tony Pietrangelo, Nuclear Energy Institute]

"911 taught us that a terrorist attack on US shores is real and the potential for that is real and we as the rest of the critical infrastructure has to be prepared to deal with that. We did have emergency preparedness plans in place we are enhancing those programs to incorporate hostile action based drills so I think that is an improvement."