House Unanimously Approves George Measure on Nuclear Safety

HARRISBURG – The state House of Representatives Monday unanimously approved legislation offered by Rep. Camille “Bud” George, chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, which would enhance nuclear safety measures and emergency responses in Pennsylvania.

“House Bill 496 found common ground among state government and the nuclear industry to implement better protections after the tragic lessons of Sept. 11, 2001,” said Rep. George, D-74 of Houtzdale. “The legislation provides a responsible and agreed-to method to pay for the improvements.” 

George said the new fees – last increased more than 14 years ago – would 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.

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

Under HB 496, the fees payable to DEP would include:

? A one-time $100,000 fee and an annual $550,000 fee for each nuclear facility.

? A $250,000 annual fee for each nuclear-fuel storage and nuclear fuel-fabrication facility.

? A $500 fee for each vehicle shipment – and a $1,000 fee for each railroad or barge shipment – of radioactive waste.

Fees payable to PEMA would include:

? One-time fees totaling $150,000 and an annual $350,000 fee for each nuclear plant site.

? Annual fees of $75,000 for each fuel-storage and fuel-fabrication facility.

? A $2,500 fee for each vehicle shipment – and a $4,500 fee for each railroad or barge shipment – of radioactive waste.

HB 496 now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

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