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Hunter shooting near nuclear plant worries residents Resident: “I was told the area is being observed by cameras. Cameras will not stop a terrorist”

(Wiscasset Newspaper) A shooting incident near the Maine Yankee site in Wiscasset is being investigated by the Maine Warden Service, according to Mark Latte, a spokesman for the service.

Maine Yankee was the state’s only nuclear power plant until it closed in 1997 and was dismantled. Much of the 800 acres where the plant was located has been sold, but there is still nuclear waste stored in cement casks on the site.

The incident occurred October 30, when a hunter standing on the Ferry Road fired off two shots at four deer standing in a field, about a quarter of a mile from where the nuclear waste is stored. The waste will be stored at the site indefinitely until the federal government fulfills its obligation to provide storage elsewhere.

When Maine Yankee officials learned of the incident, they reported it to the Maine Warden Service, the Maine Department of Safety, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to Maine Yankee spokesman Eric Howes.

The incident is being investigated by District Game Warden Doug Kullis, of the Maine Warden Service.

Ferry Road resident Roger Jones saw the incident.

“I asked the guy what he was doing,” Jones said. “I expected guards would come running out of the gatehouse when the shots were fired, but no guards appeared. The hunter acted like he had done nothing wrong.”

“What surprised me most was there were no guards in the gatehouse,” Jones said. “I was told the area is being observed by cameras. Cameras will not stop a terrorist. The unmanned gatehouse is of great concern for me, living near the site,” he said.

“The instructions posted near the gate says, `Visitors and delivery drivers please pull forward and use phones at gatehouse for access information.’ A terrorist won’t stop for access information,” Jones said.

Jones was asked to fill out a report for the Warden Service. However, as of Monday afternoon, the report had not been picked up.

Jones said the shooting occurred about 4:45 p.m. He said he saw a black GMC Envoy SUV driving on the Ferry Road, with two people in it. The driver apparently saw the deer in the field, turned around, got out, and took two shots at the deer. The passenger did not get out.

Kullis was not available for comment at press time as to what charges, if any, will be brought against the shooter.

According to Howes, “The gate is a place to control vehicle access to the site, and is manned at Maine Yankee’s discretion.”

“Be assured there are armed guards on duty at the site 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Howes said.

“I would feel much safer if there were two armed National Guardsmen with M-16’s at the gate, with a tank, instead of cameras, protecting us from a terrorist,” Jones said.

It is Maine Yankee’s responsibility to store the spent nuclear fuel at the site according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations, Howes said. The security includes around- the-clock armed officers and “a well rehearsed response plan that involves local, state and federal resources.”

Howes said a successful emergency planning exercise was conducted in September of 2006 that included over 50 federal, state, and local officials. Among the agencies were the Maine Army National Guard, the Maine State Police, the FBI, the Coast Guard, the Maine Emergency Management Agency, Lincoln County Emergency Management, the Wiscasset Police Department and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department. The Department of Homeland Security also sent representatives to monitor the exercise.

Maine Yankee’s emergency planning procedures were also reviewed October 30 at the Maine Emergency Management office in Augusta.

“In addition to scheduled exercises and meetings, there is ongoing communications on a regular basis between Maine Yankee and local, state and federal agencies,” Howes said.

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November 27, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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