Oct. 20, 2011: To NRC: Stop Delaying Implementation of Fukushima Task Force Nuclear Safety Recs

Congressman introduced Nuclear Power Plant Safety Act of 2011 in wake of Fukushima meltdowns

MEDFORD, MA – Congressman Edward J. Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and a senior member on the Energy and Commerce Committee, today released the following statement after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) directed its staff to begin implementation of seven of the 12 Near-Term Task Force safety recommendations made in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Commission has finally acted on several of its own task force’s safety recommendations more than seven months after the Fukushima meltdowns, but the timeframes they have set forth for implementing them and the Commissioners’ insistence on seemingly endless re-analysis of their own technical staff’s recommendations are unacceptable. It should not take more than two years to make sure that blackouts don’t cause meltdowns. The NRC staff should not have to continually justify and re-state their views that existing reactors must undergo retrofits to incorporate these safety upgrades. Yet today’s Commission memo requires them to do just that. I have called on all five NRC Commissioners to immediately act to implement all of the NRC technical staffs’ recommendations, and while the Commission vote today represents a good first step, it is one that falls short of what must be done to ensure safety.”

After the NRC’s Near Term Task Force on Fukushima released its report in July, Rep. Markey called for the rapid adoption of all recommendations, and sent letters criticizing the proposals to delay even their consideration that were put forward by Commissioners Svinicki, Magwood and Ostendorff.  

In September, Reps. Markey, Lois Capps (D-Calif.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and 21 other members of Congress sent a letter to NRC Chairman Jaczko calling on the Commission to adopt the recommendations of the Commission’s Near Term Task Force reviewing NRC processes and regulations in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns.

In the wake of the Japanese nuclear meltdowns, Rep. Markey also introduced H.R. 1242, the Nuclear Power Plant Safety Act of 2011. This legislation called for the NRC to ensure that nuclear power plants and spent nuclear fuel pools can withstand and adequately respond to earthquakes, tsunamis, strong storms, long power outages, or other events that threaten a major impact.