Reps. Andy Kim, Mike Levin, and Doris Matsui Lead Congressional Letter Opposing Proposed Inspection Cuts to Nuclear Waste Storage

In a fundraising missive sent out this afternoon, Rep. Andy Kim described anonymous phone calls that were made to voters in NJ's Third Congressional District aimed at casting doubt on Kim's trustworthiness ahead of the 2020 election.

Reps. Andy Kim, Mike Levin, and Doris Matsui Lead Congressional Letter Opposing Proposed Inspection Cuts to Nuclear Waste Storage

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Andy Kim (NJ-3), Mike Levin (CA-49), and Doris Matsui (CA-6) led a letter to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Kristine Svinicki opposing proposed cuts to nuclear waste storage inspections. The NRC proposal would result in a 52 to 80 percent reduction in inspections at Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) pads across the country. The administration effort comes at a time when more nuclear plants than ever are shutting down and the country’s stranded nuclear waste continues to age and grow in volume.

“As Members of Congress with closed and decommissioning nuclear power reactors in our communities, we oppose actions like these that would mean less inspection and oversight of the materials present in our districts,” the Members wrote. “Any reduction in either inspection hours or number of inspections conducted on ISFSI sites may erode public confidence in the Commission’s ability to protect health and safety. We should work to increase the public’s faith in the NRC’s level of due diligence related to safety standards and a proposal such as this runs counter to that mission.”

The letter was also signed by Reps. Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Scott Peters (CA-52), Harley Rouda (CA-48), Richie Neal (MA-1), Ron Kind (WI-3), Peter Welch (VT), Bill Keating (MA-9), Jared Huffman (CA-2), Katie Porter (CA-45), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Susan Davis (CA-53), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), Nita Lowey (NY-17), and Jim McGovern (MA-2).

Click here or see below for the full letter:

Kristine L. Svinicki
Chairman
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Mail Stop 0 – 16G4
Washington, DC 20555-0001

Dear Chairman Svinicki,

We write to express our deep concern with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) proposed changes regarding its Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) inspection program. Specifically, we oppose NRC staff recommendations that would result in major cuts to inspections occurring at ISFSI pads across the country.

It is our understanding that the Commission is reviewing a staff recommendation that would cut annual inspections of dry cask loading campaigns from 66 hours to 32 hours, a 51 percent reduction in yearly safety monitoring, as well as a 33 percent reduction in routine ISFSI inspection hours.[1] A second recommendation proposes cutting dry cask loading inspections from 32 hours per year to just a little more than 6 hours per year, an 80 percent reduction.

As Members of Congress with closed and decommissioning nuclear power reactors in our communities, we oppose actions like these that would mean less inspection and oversight of the materials present in our districts. Our nation’s fleet of nuclear generating stations and casks is aging, and we are concerned that reducing annual ISFSI inspection hours would be detrimental to safety.

At a time when more and more nuclear reactors are beginning the process of decommissioning and in the absence of an immediate solution to permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel, we feel that NRC should avoid consideration of any proposal that would reduce inspections across the country. Any reduction in either inspection hours or number of inspections conducted on ISFSI sites may erode public confidence in the Commission’s ability to protect health and safety. We should work to increase the public’s faith in the NRC’s level of due diligence related to safety standards and a proposal such as this runs counter to that mission.

We urge you to weigh heavily the concerns of our communities and oppose efforts to cut inspections for our nation’s nuclear storage facilities. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

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