Senators reintroduce bills to ensure safety of decommissioning nuclear plants, spent fuel

Sen. Edward Markey
Sen. Edward Markey | The Office of Sen. Edward Markey
Three U.S. senators reintroduced legislation on Wednesday to improve the safety and security of decommissioning nuclear reactors and their spent fuel.

A trio of bills supported by Sens. Edward Markey (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) address Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) exemptions for spent fuel, local input on decommissioning plans and fuel storage.

“An accident at an overstuffed spent fuel pool like the one at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Massachusetts would be as disastrous as an accident at an operating nuclear reactor,” Markey, the top Democrat on the Superfund, Waste Management and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee, said. “Pilgrim’s spent fuel pool contains nearly four times more radioactive waste than it was originally designed to hold. We need to ensure dangerous nuclear waste is moved to safer storage before a nuclear disaster occurs.”

Sanders said it is wrong that today the public and the states have no say – and no recourse -- in decommissioning plans.

“That is fundamentally unfair and unreasonable,” Sanders said. “This is simply about ensuring that states have the opportunity to play a meaningful role in a decision that has enormous economic, environmental and community impacts.”

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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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