September 8, 2011: Markey Statement on NRC Meeting with Dominion on North Anna Nuclear Power Plant

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) today met with Dominion officials about ongoing activities at the North Anna Nuclear Power Station in the wake of the Virginia earthquake. On August 26, Rep. Markey queried the NRC on whether the earthquake exceeded the seismic safety specifications for the North Anna reactors. Rep. Markey also asked whether these safety specifications had incorporated within them modern geologic information. Today, Dominion and the NRC affirmed that this was the case.
It is now clear that outdated seismic safety assumptions may have rendered North Anna’s reactors more vulnerable than they should have been to the Virginia earthquake. We need a seismic shift in the way in which these plants are protected from earthquakes or other natural disasters.
“The Virginia earthquake was a wake-up call to stop delaying the implementation of stricter safety standards. Today, I joined 23 members of Congress in calling on the NRC to immediately adopt the recommendations of the Fukushima Task Force, including upgrading nuclear reactor protections for severe events such as earthquakes and hurricanes and to strengthen protections against the loss of electricity that we saw at North Anna and which ultimately caused the meltdowns in Japan
Earlier today, Reps. Markey, Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko calling on the Commission to adopt the recommendations of the NRC’s Near Term Task Force reviewing Commission processes and regulations in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns.