Pennsylvania senator wants updated planning to address 'dangerous incidents' at nuclear plants
By Tony LaRussa
Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Federal regulators should “do the work” necessary to learn whether people living within 50 miles of nuclear power plants know what to do if a dangerous incident occurs, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said Wednesday.
“More than 10 million Pennsylvanians, which is 80 percent of our population, live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant,” Casey wrote in a letter to Allison M. Macfarlane, chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
“We need to ensure that appropriate plans are in place and that residents are fully informed about emergency procedures outside of the 10-mile radius.”
Since 1978, the government has mandated a 10-mile evacuation zone around nuclear plants. But the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused a meltdown and radiation release at Fukushima power plant in Japan raised questions about whether to increase the zone to 50 miles.
Casey did not suggest doing so but said he thinks residents within that radius should get information about what to do during an emergency.
“If you live within 10 miles (of a plant) you get a lot of info to help you be prepared,” Casey said during a telephone conference call with reporters. “I want to make sure that folks outside the 10 miles also have the information they need.”
Robert Young, the emergency management director for Butler County, said emergency responders in an area dubbed “Region 13” — 12 Western Pennsylvania counties plus the City of Pittsburgh — regularly conduct emergency evacuation training and drills.
“We practice all the time. But part of our plan involves informing residents about preparedness,” he said. “So I'm all for putting out more information if it can help keep people safe.”
FirstEnergy Corp., which owns the Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, puts information in telephone books and every three years sends brochures to all residents in Beaver County, said Jennifer Young, a spokeswoman for the utility.
“During the years we don't send out a brochure, we mail residents a letter reminding them about it,” she said.
Alvin Henderson, emergency management coordinator for Allegheny County, agrees with the concept of helping people better prepare for disasters.
“Whenever we can, we stress the importance of having a personal as well as a family plan to follow during emergencies,” he said.
Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- York teen suspended for asking Miss America to prom
- Philanthropist helps waitress become nurse
- Pennsylvania sting scouted private liquor store sites
- Philadelphia robbers steal $105K from armored truck
- Dog wardens will canvass state for license compliance
- Tobacco companies expected to contest Pennsylvania’s settlement on payments
- Young Pakistani immigrant linked to Pennsylvania woman known as ‘Jihad Jane’ sentenced to prison