Carbajal Urges Smart Nuclear Oversight
In light of proposed changes to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) guidelines, Rep. Salud Carbajal sent a letter today to NRC Chairman Kristine L. Svinicki urging her to put safety first and to incorporate a period for public comment before any policy changes are made.
“By reducing current standards, the safety and wellbeing of both the public and those who work with nuclear reactors could potentially be at risk,” wrote Rep. Carbajal in the letter. “Because of this, robust monitoring standards are crucial. There is no excuse to not conduct public outreach before proposing these changes.”
It has been reported that the NRC seeks to reduce safety inspections and loosen public reporting requirements when problems arise at a nuclear reactor site. These changes would present obstacles for the safety of workers and the environment, and would leave communities in the dark about what is happening at local reactor sites. Previously, the NRC was looking to relax inspector assessments for nuclear reactors—they have since indicated they are stepping away from that proposal.
In August, Carbajal held a public meeting with NRC representatives and community members in San Luis Obispo to further raise these concerns, and to discuss best practices for the decommissioning of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Rep. Carbajal emphasized the importance of community safety and engagement—key priorities for the 24th Congressional District.
Rep. Salud Carbajal represents California’s 24th Congressional District, encompassing Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and part of Ventura County. He is a member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC). Carbajal has been a champion for smart nuclear waste policy, strong local jobs and offshore wind energy proliferation, introducing legislation and working with local and national entities to help ensure a smooth transition and steady job creation throughout the decommissioning of Diablo Canyon.
Read Carbjal’s full letter to Chairman Svinicki here and below:
September 5, 2019
The Honorable Kristine L. Svinicki
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001
Dear Chairman Svinicki:
I write to express my concerns in response to numerous reports of proposed changes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering to its Reactor Oversight Process (ROP), and to request a public comment period before making these changes permanent. While I was pleased the NRC has decided against changing inspector assessments, I am still troubled that the NRC is looking to arbitrarily reduce safety inspections and is loosening public reporting requirements when problems arise. More alarming is that the NRC is considering all these sweeping changes without significant public input.
The NRC was established by Congress in 1974 as an independent agency. Its primary mission is to ensure the safe use of radioactive materials—while also protecting people and safeguarding the environment. These recent reports seem contrary to this mission.
By reducing current standards, the safety and wellbeing of both the public and those who work with nuclear reactors could potentially be at risk. Because of this, robust monitoring standards are crucial. There is no excuse to not conduct public outreach before proposing these changes.
The proposed changes to the ROP would weaken safety within the nuclear energy industry. I am concerned that this could have detrimental effects. Furthermore, because of the magnitude of these changes, I urge the NRC to hold a public comment period before any alterations to the ROP are finalized.
Thank you for your consideration.
Member of Congress