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Nuclear Plant Neighbors Push For More Emergency Preparedness

In light of the nuclear disaster in Japan, some South Shore communities are asking operators of Plymouth's Pilgrim Nuclear Plant to increase emergency preparedness funding.

Many of the towns that surround the plant are prepared to respond in the event of a major emergency at the reactor. Braintree, Bridgewater and Taunton must remain prepared to operate decontamination sites.

Taunton Emergency Management Director Richard Ferreira said he can't accept reductions that plant operators are proposing in the budget to train emergency responders.

"You can have a great plan, you can go to the state, you can come down here, you can take a look at binder after binder of procedures and plans," Ferreira said. "But if you don't run and train volunteers, you have no response."

Plant officials say they are reviewing all local agreements but do not expect local governments to pay for any services related to Pilgrim.

Ferreira stressed the importance of staying prepared — even though nuclear emergencies are rare.

"If there's no nuclear accident for 40 or 50 years, we tend to forget about them," Ferreira said. "But I think this Japan incident clearly shows that we need to be prepared for one reason and one reason only: we need to protect the public safety."

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This program aired on March 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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