Rep. Markey Demands Explanation for NRC Move to Outsource Nuclear Permit Process
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation, demanded an explanation from Chairman Dale E. Klein of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) over reports that the NRC has outsourced the job of review applications for nuclear reactor construction, despite serious concerns that allowing a private contractors to perform such critical analyses could result in conflicts of interest and a degradation of nuclear safety.

“If Congress had intended to turn oversight of the extraordinarily sensitive nuclear sector over to private companies, we would not have established the NRC. The responsibility to thoroughly and fairly review applications for nuclear reactor construction is a central duty of the NRC, and I am shocked that they would be willing to farm out such a vital function,” Rep. Markey said.

Prompted by the NRC’s decision to award a $34 million contract to Information Systems Laboratories to review applications for nuclear reactor construction, Rep. Markey’s letter also questions whether the contract would be illegal under the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act of 1998, which prohibits the outsourcing of “inherently governmental” functions.

“It’s clear to me that assuring the safety of nuclear power plants falls well within the definition of an ‘inherently governmental’ function. I am therefore alarmed that this contract may violate the law and, as a consequence, result in a danger to public health and safety,” added Rep. Markey.

Rep. Markey's letter to the NRC available here.


September 24, 2007

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