Markey slams NRC for refusing to add new safety vents to U.S. reactors

Courtesy of the U.S. Senate
U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) released a statement on Thursday slamming the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) after it voted against taking public comment on whether to add a safety measure onto existing U.S. reactors.

The NRC recently voted to disregard the public-comment portion of the now-dormant measure, which would have required the installation of a safety feature on reactors similar to those that caused a meltdown in Japan during the Fukushima Daiichi reactor disaster in 2011.

“Yet again, the NRC has missed another opportunity to take the lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster and upgrade America’s nuclear fleet to make it safer in the face of a severe nuclear accident," Markey said. "The NRC has yet to require the nuclear industry to complete implementation of a single Fukushima Task Force recommendation. It’s irresponsible, inexplicable and an abdication of NRC’s duty to protect public safety. Instead of following its top experts’ safety recommendations, the NRC chose to do nothing, leaving the people who live around these vulnerable nuclear facilities without an important protection. ”

The feature is a filtered vent that would allow a reactor to limit damage by reducing the chances of a hydrogen explosion during a meltdown. Markey's office said the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts, is one that would benefit from the vent being installed.

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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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