Senators take stand on nuclear zones
Five U.S. senators, including Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernard Sander of Vermont, have sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to protest what they called the “unwise policy” of allowing decommissioning nuclear reactors to be exempt from emergency response regulations.
Also signing the letter were Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who is the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Vermont Yankee is slated to shut down in December 2014, and after that time would be exempt from much of the emergency planning required of nuclear reactors by the NRC.
It is one of five nuclear reactors that either have shut down this year or will do so in the near future.
The senators noted that in most cases decades of high-level radioactive waste still remained in the spent fuel pool at the nuclear reactors, and posed a significant risk.
The letter was sent to Allison M. Macfarlane, chairwoman of the NRC.