Markey Blasts New Report: Effort to Turn NRC Into Reality TV Show Instead of Focusing on America’s Nuclear Safety

Posted by By at 17 December, at 11 : 51 AM Print

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, responded to today’s report on leadership at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from the House Oversight and Government Committee.

“This report validates what I have known for some time: Chairman Jaczko has acted consistently with his statutory role to lead the Commission and its staff in a manner that best protect our nation.  But rather than focus on the vital safety questions that are at hand, this report instead attempts to turn the goings-on at NRC headquarters into a new version of the reality TV show “Survivor,” replete with overwrought emotional dramatizations.  Instead of voting to apply the regulatory lessons of the Japanese nuclear meltdowns, this report, with the help of the four other NRC Commissioners, is an effort to vote Chairman Jaczko off the island for promoting the critical safety measures that are needed.

“The fact is, that the NRC Commissioners can and do frequently vote against Chairman Jaczko, and the chairman has done nothing more than try to get a Commission that has for far too long served as a lapdog for the nuclear industry to finally stand up and be a real watchdog.  The safety proposals he has been pushing the Commission to adopt are proposals recommended by the NRC’s own professional career staff, and I continue to be dumbfounded that the other Commissioners seem to be so reluctant to put them into place.

“Last week, I released a report that demonstrates that the real regulatory meltdown at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is the result of efforts the other four NRC Commissioners have made to prevent and then delay the implementation of the recommendations made by the expert Near-Term Task Force on Fukushima, which was charged with making recommendations for safety improvements after the Fukushima meltdowns, the worst nuclear disaster in history. The American people would be better served by an understanding of the lengths to which these four Commissioners have gone to thwart these much-needed safety reforms, and demand that the NRC Commissioners do their jobs to protect the nation.”

In the preparation of the report, “Regulatory Meltdown”, Rep. Markey’s office reviewed thousands of pages of documents, including emails, correspondence, meeting minutes and voting records, and found a concerted effort by Commissioners William Magwood, Kristine Svinicki, William Ostendorff and George Apostolakis to undermine the efforts of the Fukushima Task Force with request for endless additional study in an effort to delay the release and implementation of the task force’s final recommendations. Documents also show open hostility on the part of the four Commissioners toward efforts of NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko to fully and quickly implement the recommendations of the Task Force, despite efforts on the part of the Chairman to keep the other four NRC Commissioners fully informed regarding the Japanese emergency.

A copy of the report “Regulatory Meltdown: How Four Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners Conspired to Delay and Weaken Nuclear Reactor Safety in the Wake of Fukushima” can be found HERE.

Major findings in the new report include:

  • Four NRC Commissioners attempted to delay and otherwise impede the creation of the NRC Near-Term Task Force on Fukushima;
  • Four NRC Commissioners conspired, with each other and with senior NRC staff, to delay the release of and alter the NRC Near-Term Task Force report on Fukushima;
  • The other NRC Commissioners attempted to slow down or otherwise impede the adoption of the safety recommendations made by the NRC Near-Term Task Force on Fukushima;
  • NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko kept the other four NRC Commissioners fully informed regarding the Japanese emergency, despite claims to the contrary made by these Commissioners;
  • The consideration of the Fukushima safety upgrades is not the only safety-related issue that the other NRC Commissioners have opposed.

After the Near Term Task Force released its report in July, Rep. Markey called for the rapid adoption of all recommendations, and sent letters criticizing the proposals to delay even their consideration that were put forward by Commissioners Svinicki, Magwood and Ostendorff.

Rep. Markey also introduced legislation to overhaul nuclear safety. The Nuclear Power Plant Safety Act of 2011 will impose a moratorium on all new nuclear reactor licenses or license extensions until new safety requirements are in place that reflect the lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster.

Rep. Markey’s office also released the report, “Fukushima Fallout: Regulator Loopholes at U.S. Nuclear Plants ”, detailing several concerns about NRC safety regulations following the Fukushima crisis.

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