(Washington, DC) – The House of Representatives has passed legislation sponsored by Congresswoman Sue Kelly that would help strengthen security at waterside nuclear power plants.

As part of an effort to increase the Coast Guard presence along the Hudson River in the vicinity of Indian Point, Kelly introduced the bill on June 14. When she questioned Coast Guard officials about security patrols at Indian Point during a Congressional hearing in May, they agreed with her assessment that enhanced patrols are necessary to fully protect the plants from any potential security breach along the Hudson River.

Kelly partnered with U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), who similarly has a waterside nuclear power plant in his Congressional district, and worked to get her legislation passed as part of the Coast Guard Authorization Act that was approved by the House.

The bill will allow the Coast Guard to work with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to better safeguard nuclear facilities like the Indian Point facility along the Hudson River and provide vessels and weaponry capable of thwarting waterborne attacks, Kelly said.

The Coast Guard currently patrols Indian Point only periodically with a 65-foot tug boat that lacks the speed or weaponry to fully protect the plants from a terrorist threat. Barrow has concerns like Kelly about potential vulnerabilities at the Vogtle Nuclear facility in Waynesboro, Ga., which is located on the Savannah River.

By making the Coast Guard the primary federal agency for the maritime safety of U.S. nuclear power facilities, Kelly and Barrow’s legislation enables the Coast Guard to provide the increased resources necessary to procure a faster and better-equipped Coast Guard vessel to protect Indian Point.

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