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ALBANY-Although not linked with any specific terrorist threat, New York Governor George Pataki on Saturday directed National Guard troops to the Indian Point 2 and 3 plants in Buchanan and the state’s four other upstate nuclear power facilities.

Pataki says that he directed the State Division of Military and Naval Affairs to begin augmenting security at Indian Point 2 and 3 in Westchester County, Nine Mile 1 and 2 nuclear power plants, the James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County and the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Wayne County.

State officials said troops from the New York Army National Guard 27th Brigade stationed in Syracuse were scheduled to arrive at the nuclear power plant facilities by 9 a.m. Saturday and will “remain deployed for as long as needed in support of plant and local security efforts.” Pataki stresses that the deployment of National Guard troops was not connected to any specific threat against any nuclear power plant facility. He terms the action prudent based on “continuing general threats being made by terrorist groups.”

The National Guard will serve to augment existing security at the nuclear power plants as well as relieve State Police and local law enforcement personnel who have been patrolling the facilities since the terrorist attacks on September 11, the governor adds.

“Since the attacks on September 11, we have done everything possible, including utilizing our State Police force, local law enforcement personnel and National Guard troops, to keep our State’s infrastructure safe and secure,” Pataki notes. “In addition to our ongoing Guard security missions at train stations, tunnels and bridges in New York City and at airports across the state, deploying our Guard troops to augment existing security at our power plants will provide added peace of mind to New Yorkers and an added deterrent.”

The deployment of National Guard troops to the state’s nuclear power facilities comes three days after Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano asked newly named Director of the Federal Office of Homeland Security Tom Ridge to provide the county with input as to the security of the Indian Point power plants.

In a letter to former Pennsylvania Governor Ridge, Spano says, “It is my understanding that all nuclear power plants in the country are operating under high security alert, but I believe that our unique circumstances require special notice and consideration.” He continued that the Indian Point power plants are located 25 miles from New York City and 50 miles of 20 million people. In addition, the facilities are close to the reservoirs that supply Westchester and New York City with drinking water as well as to the Hudson River. Spano says he wishes the county and the new federal agency can “establish a working relationship so that the one million residents of Westchester can be assured of their safety.

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