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Markey and Warren: Seismic Risk at Pilgrim and Seabrook Greater Than Nuclear Reactors Are Licensed to Withstand

Apr 18, 2014

Lawmakers call on NRC to implement immediate mitigation measures to protect safety of neighboring residents, businesses

Washington - Massachusetts Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren today called on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to direct the licensees of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts and Seabrook Station in New Hampshire to immediately implement mitigation measures against seismic risks that were previously unknown. Reports released yesterday by the NRC reveal that dozens of reactors that reassessed their vulnerability to earthquakes in the wake of the Fukushima meltdowns are at greater risk than they were originally licensed to withstand.

"We were alarmed to discover that of the dozens of reactors that re-assessed their vulnerability to earthquakes in the wake of the Fukushima meltdowns, the newly evaluated seismic risk at both Pilgrim and Seabrook is larger than the risk the reactors were originally licensed to withstand," write the Senators in the letter to NRC Chair Allison Macfarlane. "We urge you in the strongest possible terms to direct the licensees of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and the Seabrook Station to immediately take all necessary measures to assure the safety of the reactors and those that live and work near them."

A copy of the letter to the NRC can be found HERE.

One of the recommendations of the NRC's Near Term Task Force report following Fukushima was that licensees re-evaluate seismic hazards at each reactor using current research and models in order to develop a better understanding of possible earthquake hazards at the site and determine whether additional safety measures are needed. Licensees of all reactors in the continental and eastern U.S. submitted these seismic hazard re-evaluations to the NRC in March.

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