Sen. Markey Urges NRC To Improve Safety & Security of Nuclear Decommissioning Process

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In full transparency, the following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey , who was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. He is a Democrat. (stock photo)

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WASHINGTON DC – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today,June 25, sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), urging the agency to address safety and security concerns before approving the draft rule,

“Regulatory Improvements for Production and Utilization Facilities Transitioning to Decommissioning,” and putting out a proposed rule for public comment. “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission must prioritize the safety and security of the nuclear plants it oversees,” said Senator Markey. “As currently written, the proposed rule would allow the NRC and plant operators to cut corners on safety and limit public participation, which is critical to the decommissioning process. The communities around our nuclear plants deserve better than this.” 

A copy of the letter can be found HERE

In his letter, Senator Markey requests that the NRC:

  • propose a defined and exact set of rules on how plants should navigate the decommissioning process;
  • improve public participation during the NRC’s consideration of any license transfers requested in connection with a nuclear plant’s decommissioning process;
  • acknowledge and address the fact that spent fuel could remain onsite for long periods of time, perhaps indefinitely; and
  • reevaluate its proposal to reduce financial protections for offsite and onsite liability claims for plants that are in the process of decommissioning.

 Senator Markey also requests that the NRC ensure that the twenty-three nuclear reactors, such as Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, that have already begun the decommissioning process adapt their operations to reflect stronger standards. The NRC should also establish the proper checks to ensure the safety and security of the eight additional nuclear power plants that have already declared their intent to decommission. 

Senator Markey has consistently urged the NRC to prioritize safety and public participation in the nuclear decommissioning process. Last Congress, Senator Markey reintroduced the Dry Cask Storage Act, which was aimed at improving the storage of spent nuclear fuel at nuclear plants across the nation. As the Pilgrim Power Station commenced its decommissioning process,

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