Feds call for stepped up security at nuclear power plants

NRC reports says plants need to be better prepared for earthquakes, flooding and power outages


LAKE WORTH, Fla. --

Palm Beach County held its annual nuclear disaster drill at John Prince Park in Lake Worth. While the county is not home to any nuclear power plants, the community would be called upon to host evacuees should an incident occur at the St. Lucie power plant.

Volunteers went through simulated monitoring stations and decontamination tents. The exercise resonated because of what the Japanese people went through after a March 11 tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown.

"All of our guidelines were already pretty good. It was just a re-evaluation of what we had, things that we might not have thought of," said Bruce Johnson of Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

The disaster drill comes as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a 92-page report calling for stepped up safety procedures.

"The Task Force concludes that the NRC’s safety approach is incomplete without a strong program for dealing with the unexpected, including severe accidents," read the report.

That report said the nation’s power plants need to be better prepared for earthquakes, severe flooding and prolonged power outages.

"I think people should take solace in the fact that all of this stuff is going on all the time so that we are at a higher preparedness," said Bill Johnson of Palm Beach County Emergency Management.

Michael Waldron, a spokesman for Florida Power & Light, said the company is “committed to working with the NRC and the rest of the industry to make all nuclear power plants safer and stronger than they are today."

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