WATCH: Senator Markey floor remarks on ADVANCE Act 

Washington (June 18th, 2024) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, delivered remarks opposing ADVANCE Act language, which alters the safety-first mission of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and fails to address nonproliferation and nuclear waste concerns, as part of the Fire Grants and Safety Act (S. 870). Senator Markey voted in support of the Fire Grants and Safety Act in April of 2023, prior to the inclusion of nuclear provisions by the House.

Below are excerpts from Senator Markey’s remarks:

“Unfortunately, the vote today is not just for the life-saving programs that I am on the record as supporting. On the coattails of this non-controversial bill to protect our heroes, our colleagues in the House tacked on a dangerous 90-page package of provisions that merged the Senate’s ADVANCE Act and the House’s Atomic Energy Advancement Act.

“This bill puts promotion over protection, and corporate profits over community clean-up. Notably, the provisions from the Senate bill that would have provided a much-needed $225 million for communities affected by nuclear closures and $100 million to clean up contaminated Tribal communities are not in the legislation before us today, but the provisions to prop up the nuclear industry remain.

“The ADVANCE Act, as attached to the Fire Grants and Safety Act, includes language that would require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to rewrite its mission to state that its regulation and oversight should ‘not unnecessarily limit’ civilian nuclear activity, regardless of whether it is beneficial or detrimental to public safety and national security. The NRC shouldn’t be the Nuclear Retail Commission. The Commission’s duty is to regulate, not facilitate.

“As a leader in the global arena and a nation with nuclear capabilities, we have a duty to set the strongest possible standards for domestic and international nuclear activities as an example to the rest of the world. We also have to clean up our existing messes, particularly in Tribal and environmental justice communities, before investing in anything that might make those messes worse. As a result, despite my strong and continued support for the fire safety grants and my respect for my colleagues working on this issue, I must vote no.”