Markey queries NRC on policies and accountability for public statements

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Concerned that public statements made by representatives of Entergy Nuclear, the licensee of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, contradict the factual history of the plant, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) querying the Commission about their policies regarding licensee responsibility to be truthful in public communications. According to Rep. Markey’s letter, the radioactive isotope strontium-90 has been found in fish in the Connecticut River near the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. Despite reports submitted to the NRC by Entergy that document the release of strontium-90 by the plant, a representative of the company has publicly denied that Vermont Yankee is the source of the radioactive material. Additionally, in response to queries, NRC officials have stated that its licensees are only required to provide accurate information to the NRC and that no such requirement exists for statements made to the press or the public.

“Entergy appears to be doing a 180 about strontium-90, reporting its release to the NRC but denying it has anything to do with it to the public,” said Rep. Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and a senior member on the Energy and Commerce Committee. “This is unacceptable. We need to know if strontium-90 is leaking from Vermont Yankee, if Entergy is being truthful in their public statements, and if NRC has any commitment to ensuring truthfulness from its licensees.”

Rep. Markey’s letter to the NRC can be found HERE

In the letter, Rep. Markey asks the NRC to respond to questions that include:
  • What documentation establishes that the source of the strontium is anything other than releases from Vermont Yankee?
  • What documentation relates to any NRC regulatory requirements regarding the veracity of statements that licensees provide to the public and the media?
  • How is the NRC addressing the need for more study on the possible role of Vermont Yankee in the strontium-90?
  • If Vermont Yankee is found to be the source of the strontium-90, what will be the consequences imposed by the NRC?
Nov. 9, 2011, response from NRC can be found HERE .