*[Enwl-eng] Don't play with our safety, NRC

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Jul 12, 2020, 12:19:30 PM7/12/20
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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) duty is to protect the health and safety of the American people from an inherently dangerous industry. But for decades, the NRC has been badly falling down on the job.

The NRC now wants to ax one of its most basic safety regulations: emergency plans for nuclear disasters. The NRC wants to rewrite the rules so that certain kinds of new reactors will be exempt from providing site-specific Emergency Response Plans that must be approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Instead, the proposal would let plant owners determine what the size of the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) should be—or whether offsite emergency planning is necessary at all.

This proposal would leave the public unprotected in the case of a large release of radiation. The NRC would let newfangled reactors that are untested and unproven off the hook and allow plant owners to police themselves when it comes to safety. When disaster strikes, public officials and plant operators would have to figure out—on the fly—how to protect people, who and when to evacuate, how to notify people, how to transport and shelter them, and more.

The comment period for this terrible idea closes in three weeks. Tell the NRC: Don’t play with our emergency plans

Since the Three Mile Island disaster, emergency planning has been a bedrock of nuclear safety regulation for the last 40 years. It is the very last line of defense to protect public health and safety when all else fails. If anything, the nuclear disasters at Fukushima and Chernobyl prove that the NRC’s emergency planning requirements should be more stringent, not less.

The NRC seems to think that the small modular reactors and non-light water reactors covered in their proposal don’t need the same level of emergency preparedness as their older counterparts. But there’s no reason to think this. They may be smaller than current reactors, but they would still contain large amounts of radiological material. And since they are untested and unproven, they should be at least as tightly regulated as their older counterparts, if not more so.

With its latest proposal, the NRC is putting the economic interests of the nuclear industry ahead of the health and safety of the American people. The comment period for this terrible idea is open right now. Tell the NRC: Don’t play with our emergency plans.

We need emergency planning for nuclear facilities more than ever. Climate change is increasing the severity and frequency of natural disasters that could cause nuclear emergencies, as well as complicate emergency response plans. But the NRC doesn’t even mention climate change or extreme weather events in their proposal.

It’s high time the NRC put the health and safety of the American people above the economic interests of the nuclear industry. The comment period for this terrible idea closes in three weeks. Tell the NRC: Don’t play with our emergency plans.

We’ll keep you updated about this and other nuclear policy developments during the rest of the summer. In the meantime, we hope you’re staying healthy and safe.

Thanks for your all you do,

The NIRS Team

Diane D'Arrigo
Luis Hestres
Denise Jakobsberg
Tim Judson

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Takoma Park, MD 20912

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Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 2020 8:15 PM
Subject: Don't play with our safety, NRC


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