Boston (August 21, 2015) – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) yesterday announced by a vote of 3-1 that it will not even put out for public comment the question of whether to upgrade America’s Fukushima-style reactors with a commonsense safety measure to prevent radiation exposure when vents are used to prevent hydrogen explosions during a meltdown. Commissioner Jeff Baran was the dissenting vote. In 2013, then-Rep. Markey and a group of House committee leaders called on the NRC to require that all U.S. nuclear reactors of the same design as the ones that melted down at the Japanese Fukushima nuclear facility install such vents in order to reduce exposure to radiation when the vents are used. Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Massachusetts has a reactor design that would utilize a filtered vent.
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement:
“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. The NRC has yet to require the nuclear industry 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. ”