Guard to provide security at Missouri nuclear facilities

Thursday, November 1, 2001

Associated Press WriterJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Gov. Bob Holden on Thursday ordered the Missouri National Guard to provide security at the Callaway Nuclear Plant and the University of Missouri at Columbia's research reactor.

About 30 members of the 2175th Military Police unit based in St. Clair were already being deployed to the two locations, said military officials, who declined to say how the forces would be divided.

"While there have been no specific threats against any nuclear facilities in Missouri, I believe it is prudent to send the National Guard troops to boost existing security measures after this week's alert from the Justice Department about the potential for another terrorist attack," Holden said.

The federal government is not paying for the deployment, so the state will pick up the $45,000 pricetag for a 10-day deployment.

"We'll keep them we hope no longer than necessary but long enough that we think they did the job," Holden said.

Adj. Gen. Dennis Schull said adding the military troops provides an extra layer of protection to security already in place at the Callaway facility.

"It's another layer, another outer layer extending the existing security perimeter to provide additional time for the already excellent security forces at these facilities to react," Schull told reporters.

The troops will replace state Highway Patrol officers who were placed at the nuclear plant following a national alert issued earlier this week, said Tim Daniel, Missouri's special adviser for homeland security.

The Callaway plant is located about 25 miles northeast of Jefferson City and 100 miles west of St. Louis and employs about 750 people. It is owned and operated by St. Louis-based AmerenUE.

"We certainly want to work with local and state officials and have been in close contact with them to augment what is already a strong security effort," said Susan Gallagher, a spokeswoman for AmerenUE.

The university research reactor has been operating for 32 years and is used for a variety of projects sponsored by the university. About 100 people work at the reactor and much of the research focuses on radiopharmaceutical research.

"Safety is our number one priority not only for the reactor but for the entire campus," said Christian Basi, a spokesman for the university. "We are going to cooperate with any outside agency by any means to increase that safety."

Nationwide, nuclear power plants have ratcheted up security in response to a new terrorist alert issued earlier this week.

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has told governors they ought to consider added police protection at nuclear plants to help private security guards. But Ridge left the decision on using the military up to the governors, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Wednesday.

In posting the National Guard at a nuclear plant, Missouri will join Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

The Callaway Nuclear Plant site was selected in 1973 and the initial fuel delivery was made in 1982. A full-power operating license was issued in 1984.

The plant has generated an average of 8.9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity since start up, which is equal to the amount of electricity used annually by more than 750,000 average households.

------On the Net:

Governor's Office:

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: