April 6, 2011: Testimony on “Nuclear Disaster Preparedness”
Submitted by the Honorable Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)
April 6, 2011
The Honorable Marc R. Pacheco, Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
The Honorable Anne M. Gobi, House Chair, Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture
The Honorable Susan C. Fargo, Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Public Health
The Honorable Jeffrey Sanchez, House Chair, Joint Committee on Public Health
The Honorable James E. Timilty, Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
The Honorable Harold P. Naughton, Jr., House Chair, Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
The Honorable Benjamin B. Downing, Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
The Honorable John D. Keenan, House Chair, Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy
Thank you very much for allowing me to submit written testimony on “Nuclear Disaster Preparedness”. I regret that I cannot be there in person today.
First of all, I’d like to begin by commending all of you, Governor Patrick and Attorney General Coakley for all of your leadership in the area of nuclear reactor safety and emergency preparedness. Governor Patrick has displayed tremendous leadership in disaster preparedness, emergency management, and crisis response. Whether it has been record-breaking blizzards, catastrophic flooding, or severe winter storms, he has taken a hands-on approach and worked with emergency management personnel in the Commonwealth to ensure the safety and security of our residents. Because of Governor Patrick’s work in emergency management, Massachusetts is a national leader in this field.
I have long been convinced that the safety of our domestic nuclear energy sector is not what it should be. In 1979, before the Three Mile Island accident, I introduced legislation calling for a three-year moratorium on licensing of new nuclear power plants until a top-to-bottom safety analysis on nuclear safety was undertaken. In 1982, I chaired a hearing on the need to stockpile potassium iodide to residents living near nuclear power plants because this safe, effective medication is proven to prevent radiation-induced thyroid cancer and other disorders, especially in young children. In the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, I chaired hearings into its causes and consequences. In 2010, I asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate numerous aspects of nuclear reactor safety, including resilience to earthquakes and other natural disasters. Most recently, three days before the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, I sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission urging it not to approve the Westinghouse AP1000 design for a new nuclear reactor because one of its longest-serving top scientists had warned that its containment dome could “shatter like a glass cup” under sufficient stress and that the model used to simulate its resiliency to an earthquake was unrealistic.
Read the full testimony HERE