Senators Demand Congressional Probe on Nuke Safety

Like many, I have been concerned about our nuke plants here in the U.S. since the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex in Japan.

It has seemed like there wasn’t enough concern being shown for our own vulnerability here in the U.S. in the wake of a full scale natural disaster.

AP News is in the midst of publishing a four-part investigative series, which “shows that government and industry have been working in tandem to relax safety standards to keep aging reactors within the rules.”

The series also found that there have been leaks of radioactive tritium, often from corroded underground piping, at three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites.

Thankfully the AP series has gotten some attention in Congress now and three U.S. Senators are “are asking for a congressional investigation of safety standards and federal oversight at the facilities.”

The three said the ongoing AP series raises questions about whether the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has worked with the atomic power industry to allow aging reactors to keep operating by weakening safety standards or not enforcing them at all.

The request came Wednesday in a letter to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, from Democrat Barbara Boxer. Boxer chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

The letter also was signed by independent Bernard Sanders and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.

Democratic senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, also made a similar request to the GAO earlier this week.

On Tuesday a GAO report released by Democratic Reps. Edward J. Markey and Peter Welch, “concluded that nuclear power plant operators haven’t figured out how to quickly detect the underground leaks, which often go undetected for years.”

It’s time to shutter our nuke plants across America and not be renewing liscenses to nuke plants like Seabrook Station in Seabrook, NH (right in my backyard). Recent inspections at Seabrook “uncovered structural weaknesses in concrete surrounding a safety-related tunnel only two decades into the plant’s 40-year license.”

The Green Blog reported recently:

US Representative Edward J. Markey wants the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny Seabrook Station and other nuclear power plants license extensions if they are requested too early in the plant’s operating life.

(Photo: Seabrook Nuke Plant, Seabrook NH ~~ Rich Beauchesne, Seacoast Online)

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