WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Associated Press (AP) released a report today documenting a long history of loosened regulations and weak enforcement by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The report specifically shows that when nuclear plants were found to be dangerously out of compliance, rather than enforcing their regulations the NRC weakened their safety protections. The report was announced less than week after a NRC task force found faults in nuclear power plant emergency preparedness systems and the regulations that prescribe the extent of those systems. These reports and the ongoing crisis in Japan have led many to question the NRC’s regulation of the nuclear industry. Events continue to unfold in Fukushima, where new evacuations have been announced due to the ongoing radiation leaking from the stricken reactors there.
Environment America’s Clean Energy Advocate, Sean Garren, issued the following statement:
“While the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s own task force demonstrated that the commission has been asleep at the wheel, the report today demonstrates they are also driving in the wrong direction. The nuclear industry and Nuclear Regulatory Commission are in a race to the bottom, and they are gambling with our environment and our families’ health.
“We have now seen that the consequences of losing this bet are enormous. As events continue to unfold around the stricken Fukushima reactors in Japan, pregnant mothers are now being asked to evacuate from far flung radioactive ‘hot spots.’
“At this juncture, we mustensure the relative safety of existing plants, not just change our definition of safe. In addition, we should put a moratorium on any new plants, and begin to phase out our use of nuclear power. In all cases the process should start, but not end, with plants on fault lines, near coasts or large bodies of water, in the hurricane zone or of the same design as the reactors in Japan. We can and must move away from energy technologies that put our environment and families’ health at massive risk and repower our country with clean, renewable energy, like wind and solar power.”