Legislation to Increase Security of State Nuclear Facilities Passes in Both Houses

June 16, 2004

This week legislation to increase the security of state nuclear facilities passed in both the Assembly and the Senate. On Monday, the New York Assembly voted in favor of a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (A.7201). Today, the Senate voted in favor of the same bill (S.7321) introduced by Senator James Wright.

This important legislation authorizes security personnel and employees of nuclear electric generating facilities to use physical or deadly physical force to prevent a burglary, arson, or trespassing.

The existing state law prohibits nuclear security guards from using force to prevent a burglary. This new legislation recognizes the increasing importance of nuclear security by providing the necessary powers to security personnel to protect their facilities.

Regarding this step to ensure nuclear security, Assemblywoman Galef (90th - Ossining) said, "We must do all we can to allow for maximum protections at nuclear plants throughout the state. Giving the security personnel the necessary tools to protect those working at the energy plants, as well as the public residing in the surrounding areas, is most important. This legislation represents a most critical component of our arsenal to protect us from any terrorist attacks."

Senator Wright (48th - Watertown), chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, also commented on the passage of this measure, "Security personnel at nuclear facilities across the state and locally in Oswego County must have the necessary authority to protect the plants and the many families who live in the surrounding areas." He added, "It is appropriate that the authority of security guards be upgraded given the increased security alertness that has been necessary over the last three years,"

These bills will now be sent to the Governor for approval.