Nuclear Reactor Safety, Security and Emergency response

For more than three decades, Senator Markey has worked to secure nuclear power plants and ensure the public safety in the event of a nuclear disaster. While in the House of Representatives in 1979, before the Three Mile Island accident occurred, Markey introduced legislation providing for a three year moratorium on licensing of new nuclear power plants until a top to bottom safety analysis on nuclear reactors could be performed. In 1986, he chaired hearings on the causes and consequences of the disaster at Chernobyl. Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Markey passed a law to strengthen security for nuclear reactors and materials, and a law providing for distribution of potassium iodide to those living within 20 miles of a nuclear reactor, which he continues to urge the Obama administration to implement. And before the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns in Japan, Markey raised concerns about the seismic resiliency of America’s reactors.

Since the devastating events in Japan, Senator Markey has written to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and President Obama for more information on the implications for America’s domestic nuclear industry. He has repeatedly urged the NRC to consider specific domestic policies to ensure increased nuclear safety and introduced legislation to require their implementation.  He also queried the Food and Drug Administration on how the agency is ensuring that contaminated radioactive food or other agricultural products are prevented from entering the domestic food supply.