Washington (July 24, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), issued the following statement about the National Academy of Sciences new report about the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster. The report, which states that ultimately the disaster was caused by an extreme event for which the nuclear plant was not prepared, recommends that to protect against a Fukushima-level accident here in the United States, the NRC and industry “must actively seek out and act on new information about hazards that have the potential to affect the safety of nuclear plants”. Some specific areas the report says merit attention are: large earthquakes, large floods (including those caused by tsunamis), geomagnetic disturbances, and any events that could have involve regional disturbances. The report also recommends that the NRC increase transparency in “their efforts to assess safety culture effectiveness, remediate deficiencies, and implement improvements”.


“The NRC has yet to require a single Fukushima Taskforce recommendation to be implemented, choosing instead to enact long compliance deadlines and order redundant studies. Instead of learning the lessons of the Fukushima meltdowns, the NRC is failing the grade and American’s nuclear fleet remains vulnerable to many of the same risks that became  reality in Japan. By ignoring the Taskforce's recommendations to upgrade safety measures while underestimating the costs of a nuclear disaster, the NRC is leaving those living and working near nuclear reactors to pay the price of inaction.”


Since the tragic events in Japan, Senator Markey has written to the NRC and President Obama for more information on the implications for America’s domestic nuclear industry. He has repeatedly urged the NRC to consider specific domestic policies to ensure increased nuclear safety and introduced legislation to require their implementation.  He also queried the Food and Drug Administration on how the agency is ensuring that contaminated radioactive food or other agricultural products are prevented from entering the domestic food supply.