Nadler Amendment on Nuclear Security Approved by Judiciary Committee

Sep 29, 2004

Washington, DC -- The Judiciary Committee approved an amendment offered by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to the 9/11 Commission Implementation Act that would strengthen security of nuclear facilities and protection of shipments of extremely hazardous materials.

The section of Nadler's amendment that deals with nuclear security directs the Department of Homeland Security to assess the threat to nuclear reactors after September 11 and establish new regulations to ensure that facilities are ready for the revised threat. The amendment also directs the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to design and implement anti-terrorist force on force exercises at each facility at least every two years to ensure that the facilities can be defended against a realistic threat.

"I am very pleased that the Republicans accepted this amendment, despite their continual resistance to other measures that are needed to improve our security," said Nadler. "The Republicans, including President Bush, initially opposed creating the 9/11 Commission and have put forward a bill that fails to fully implement the Commission's recommendations."

Nadler's amendment builds on the 9/11 Commission's recommendation urging the Department of Homeland Security to regularly assess the types of threats facing the country.

The amendment also calls for greater security surrounding shipments of extremely hazardous materials, such as extra security guards and surveillance technologies and coordination between federal, state and local authorities to create a response plan for a terrorist attack on an extremely hazardous materials shipment. Each day, hundreds of thousands of shipments of extremely hazardous material travel through densely populated areas and near critical infrastructure. Last year, an Ohio-based al Qaeda operative was arrested for plotting to collapse a bridge in New York City or derail a train in Washington. D.C. He has since pled guilty.

"Enough chlorine to kill 100,000 people in a half hour is often contained in a single rail tanker car going through crowded urban centers and a successful attack on a nuclear reactor would have a disastrous toll on our environment and economy, not to mention the loss of life. We know that al Qaeda wants to attack our nuclear facilities and use shipments of dangerous chemicals as weapons against us. We need to stop them, and this amendment will help us achieve that."