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August 3, 2011: Don’t Allow New Nuclear Reactor Construction Before Safety Questions Resolved by Congressman Edward Markey

August 3, 2011: Don’t Allow New Nuclear Reactor Construction Before Safety Questions Resolved

Rule change could undermine current safety regulations, limit public participation in licensing decisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, this week sent a letter to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Greg Jaczko urging the NRC not to approve a proposed rule change that would allow companies to begin construction of new nuclear power reactors that utilize the still-unapproved Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor design before the final rule for the reactor design is issued by the NRC. Under current regulations, construction, including safety-related construction of systems and structures that need to function during an accident, can only begin upon final approval by the NRC of a reactor design. In May, the NRC acknowledged outstanding safety-related issues with the AP1000 design and asked Westinghouse for resolution before the Commission moved forward with final certification. Electric utility Southern Company is currently waiting for final approval for the AP1000 design to receive NRC authorization to begin safety-related construction of a proposed new reactor at its existing Vogtle site in Georgia. The proposed rule change would allow Southern Company to begin safety-related reactor construction at Vogtle before NRC staff incorporates changes in the final rule that would be made if the NRC approves the Westinghouse AP1000 design.

Continue reading at August 3, 2011: Don’t Allow New Nuclear Reactor Construction Before Safety Questions Resolved

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