Massachusetts attorney general calls for higher safety standards at nuclear plants

Mass. Attorney General, Maura Healey
Mass. Attorney General, Maura Healey | Courtesy of Maura Healey

Attorney General of Massachusetts Maura Healey has called on leadership of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, urging them to pass legislation to ensure safety in disposal activity of spent nuclear fuel on Thursday. 

In her letter to Chairman Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Ranking Member Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) she expressed support for the Safe and Secure Decommissioning Act of 2015 (S. 944), the Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2015 (S.964) and the Dry Cask Storage Act of 2015 (S.945). 

In 2012, the office of the attorney general appealed the decision of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to relicense the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant, despite safety concern that had been noted shortly after the Fukushima incident in Japan. 

“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has long had an obligation to develop meaningful long-term solutions to the current on-site storage of nuclear waste in facilities across the country, yet it has failed to do so,” Healey said in her letter. “Its failure to act poses risks to public safety and the environment.”

All three bills are either sponsored or co-sponsored by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA). Each respective bill requires that regulation changes including licensing requirements including a facility's plans on spent fuel storage and disposal, would prevent the NRC from waiving regulatory requirements on decommissioned plants or those who cease operation and would require post-shutdown decommissioning activities reports to be submitted to NRC following a consultation with affected municipality and locality officials.

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Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

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