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Monday, June 17, 2024

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State Police, National Guard End Nuclear Power Plant Patrols

By Herald Staff

Trenton, NJ – Attorney General Anne Milgram today announced enhanced private security patrols and a new video monitoring system at the state’s three nuclear power plants linked to the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center (ROIC).
These most recent security arrangements combined with extensive enhancements taken by the plants over the past several years allow the withdrawal of State Police and New Jersey National Guard security details that have patrolled outside the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Forked River and the Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations in Salem County since October 2001.
Agreements with AmerGen Energy Company, which owns the Oyster Creek plant, and PSEG Nuclear, operator of Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants, provide for increased private security patrols outside the plants and a new video monitoring system with panning and zoom cameras that have thermal imaging capabilities. The new cameras will provide views of the perimeter and access points to the nuclear power sites and feed video images to the ROIC through a secure line. State Police at the ROIC are able to activate and view the cameras at any time.
“Security at our state’s nuclear power plants is among our highest priorities,’’ Attorney General Milgram said. “We have evaluated how to more effectively deploy our resources and utilize state of the art technology to enhance security arrangements at the nuclear reactors.”
“Every nuclear station in the country is required to have a comprehensive security program capable of defending the nuclear station against a specific ‘design basis threat,’ independent of any outside assistance,’’ said Tim Rausch, Oyster Creek Site Vice President. “These security programs are continually monitored and evaluated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission through daily inspection activity, annual public safety exercises and force on force evaluations every three years.’’
“The new surveillance system further enhances the efforts of our security force to protect Salem and Hope Creek,” said Carl Fricker, PSEG Nuclear Vice President, Operations Support. “Our force stands ready to protect and with this new system, the State of New Jersey can now deploy the National Guard and State Police where needed while maintaining the security monitoring and response capability at our nuclear facilities.”
During the last seven years, Oyster Creek and Salem/Hope Creek have spent more than $82 million combined on capital security improvements. In addition, the power companies have significantly increased their operating budgets for security.
The New Jersey State Police/New Jersey National Guard security detail was directed by Acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco in October 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. All 31 states with nuclear power plants took similar security steps, and all the states other than New Jersey and New York have removed state patrols. New York eliminated National Guard soldiers at four upstate power plants in May and is also in the process of redeploying National Guard troops at the Indian Point power plant, according to a news report.
In June 2007, State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes and Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Richard Canas, in consultation with the National Guard, prepared a comprehensive report recommending the withdrawal of the State Police/National Security detail provided new alternative and supplemental security measures were taken by the power plant operators. The recommendations included the increased security patrols and the new camera systems.
The Attorney General, acting upon the recommendations, entered into memorandums of understanding with the plant operators earlier this year. The increased private security patrols are in effect, and the new camera systems have been installed, tested and are now operating. There will also be periodic tests and drills involving the camera monitoring system. The plants also must continue to maintain compliance with all U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission laws, regulations, and orders related to security systems including periodic testing by the NRC.

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