James Witt: US Nuke Plants Need Review

Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 08:18 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Former Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) Director James Witt says governors of states that have nuclear facilities near fault lines should call for immediate safety reviews. Witt Tuesday also said on CNN the Japanese face a difficult challenge in cleaning up their affected nuclear reactors.

witt, fema, nukes“I would advise them to start a team looking at developing the recovery plan, a long-term recovery plan, because that's going to be critical, too, with all of that debris,” Witt told CNN’s John King. “And, John, they are going to have a lot of different hazardous materials in those piles of debris and stuff that’s going to have to be separated.

“So, they need to start that process as soon as possible. But I know now they have more worries than that to deal with,” he said. “But I think that the initial response – they’ve done pretty good.”

King asked what Witt would do if he was still in charge of FEMA, with regard to U.S. preparedness in face of a possible nuclear disaster.

“I would want to work with the governors and just say: ‘You have two plants in your state, that are 40 years old or older,’” Witt said. “And I would work with the state and the governor's office and say: ‘Let’s review this very closely with our Nuclear Regulatory Commission and see if there’s any problems,’ but also make sure that we put in any mitigating things that we could do to keep it safe.

“If there’s any of the plants that are in fault areas, that are close enough to fault areas that could be damaged, then they should be looked at … making sure all of the measures are there that would keep this from happening,” he said.

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