Planes Banned Near Nuclear Plants : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Story Url: section=LycosPolitics&storyId=48014

Planes Banned Near Nuclear Plants

Associated Press Oct 30, 2001 03:50 p.m. PST

WASHINGTON - The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily banned private planes from flying near nuclear power plants after Attorney General John Ashcroft warned of possible new terrorist attacks.

The FAA on Tuesday imposed the restrictions ``for reasons of national security.'' The ban on flying within 11 miles of 86 nuclear plants and other nuclear sites such as the Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico expires Nov. 7.

Also in response to Ashcroft's warning, Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta told his department's administrators to make sure that the trucking, aviation, railroad, shipping and other industries maintained high levels of security.

The ban on private flights near nuclear power plants will force nearby small airports to close, said Warren Morningstar, a spokesman for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

``A small, general-aviation aircraft is not a significant risk to a nuclear facility,'' Morningstar said. ``On the other hand, we also have to accept that there are serious national security threats, and we will do our best to protect the nation and keep people safe.''

Commercial airplanes, which fly at higher altitudes, will not be affected. Nor will the ban apply to medical, law enforcement, rescue and firefighting operations when authorized by air traffic controllers.

The FAA also announced restrictions on private planes because of the World Series. Only pilots who file flight plans with the FAA will be allowed to fly within 34 miles of John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. The restrictions will be in effect from 6:45 p.m. to 2 a.m. EST during all World Series games played at Yankee Stadium.

Bans remain in effect on all private planes within 20 miles of Kennedy Airport or Reagan Washington National Airport. In Boston, New York and Washington, all private pilots must file flight plans with the FAA.

Blimps, news helicopters and banner-towing planes remain grounded in 30 metropolitan areas.

Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 30, 2001


I wonder when, or if, the US will take a hint from the French and put Surface-to-air missles, manned around the clock, around all nuke plants.


-- Jackson Brown (, October 30, 2001.

"Commercial airplanes, which fly at higher altitudes, will not be affected."

Unless they are on final approach to, for example, Harrisburg airport. The airport is a stone's throw from the Three Mile Island nuke plant. You can practically reach out and touch TMI as you come into MDT (Middletown, the abbreviation for little "Harrisburg International"). There are other examples of this. It's the same problem as having Reagan National Airport in D.C. so close to downtown. A plane could in theory swerve at the last moment and there wouldn't be time to launch missles, unless you think the missiles should be on hair-trigger alert for EVERY aircraft in or out of the airfield. In which case, I've got yet another reason never to fly to that airport, thank you.

We've discussed this briefly once before on GICC.

And once again, I won't comment on the "wisdom" of siting a nuclear plant 9 miles south of a state capital, right next to an airport, and a few feet above a river that floods regularly no less (the management plan for floods is essentially to shut down and abandon the plant until the flood recedes, then come back in with the wet mops!).

-- Andre Weltman (, October 31, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ