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Rep. George to Introduce Measure to Increase Nuclear Power Plant Fees
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Rep. Bud George

Rep. Camille “Bud” George, Chair of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, this week said he is introducing legislation needed so utilities can pay for enhanced safety and emergency-response programs at Pennsylvania’s five nuclear plants.

“State government and the nuclear industry are moving full-speed ahead implementing better protections so the lessons of Sept. 11, 2001, are not ignored,” said Rep. George (D-Clearfield). “We now are better prepared for any accidents or incidents involving nuclear plants, and the measure I am introducing provides a responsible method to pay for those improvements.”

Rep. George said nuclear-plant operators and the Rendell administration agreed to new fees -- last increased more than 14 years ago -- to pay for enhancements that include:

· A Radiological Emergency Response Planning and Preparedness Program to focus and streamline emergency-preparedness resources;

· Enhanced monitoring at nuclear plants to provide real-time data through secure systems;

· Bolstered oversight, inspections, and response-development services provided by the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Radiation Protection; and

· Updated training provided by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to more than 700 state, county and hospital officials.

Rep. George said the increased fees are comparable to those in other states and will cover a $1.5 million shortfall. Under the legislation, plant operators would pay $550,000, an increase of $150,000, for each of the five nuclear-plant sites to cover the DEP’s increased costs, and $350,000 for each site, up from $200,000, to cover the PEMA shortfall.

“The measure is identical to Democratic and Republican bills filed late last session in the House and Senate but never brought to a vote,” Rep. George said. “It will be a priority in this session.” (House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 1276 last session)

Similar legislation will be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango).

Pennsylvania’s five commercial power plants provide 25 percent of the state’s electricity. They are Beaver Valley in Beaver County, Susquehanna in Luzerne County, Limerick in Montgomery County, Peach Bottom in York County and Three Mile Island in Dauphin County.

According to the Energy Information Agency, Pennsylvania is second only to Illinois in nuclear capacity and output.

NewsClip: State Seeks Boost in Nuke Plant Fee


2/9/2007

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