Attorney General Healey calls on Congress to improve safety of spent fuel rods at nuclear power plants

In a letter  sent to U.S. Senator James M. Inhofe, Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Ranking Member Barbara Boxer, Attorney General Maura Healey urged Congress to pass legislation to safely dispose of spent fuel rods to protect the health and well-being of residents and the environment.

In the letter, Healey specifically cited Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, stating that “more than 40 years after the federal government licensed the Pilgrim nuclear power plant…a permanent nuclear waste repository remains out of reach. It is unacceptable.”

Healey said the federal government must ensure proper security is in place at decommissioned plants where spent fuel is stored and that all spent fuel rods are transferred from wet pools to safer dry cask storage. Healey also said the public must have an opportunity to participate in the decommissioning process for retiring power plants.

“While we are hopeful the federal government will fulfill its obligations to provide a long-term storage solution, the absence of a long-term solution has created issues for states and their residents that need to be addressed now,” AG Healey said in the letter.

In 2012, the Attorney General’s Office appealed the NRC’s decision to relicense the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant Station for 20 years in the wake of safety issues raised in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident. This appeal came after the AG’s Office petitioned the NRC in 2011 not to issue a final relicensing of Pilgrim without considering the lessons learned from Fukushima.

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