All five Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Commissioners appeared Thursday at a Senate hearing examined nuclear safety one year after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan.
U.S. plants would have as many as five years to comply with new rules on emergency power and natural disaster preparedness. Senate Environment Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) praised a recent NRC move to inspect a California plant for safety concerns, but she questioned why the industry would be given years to comply with the proposed rules.
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan, resulting in complete loss of electrical power, damage to nuclear fuel and release of radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the NRC formed a Task Force to reevaluate the safety and security of the nation’s 104 nuclear power plants and develop a series of recommendations based on the lessons learned from Japan.
The full committee and the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee jointly met to focus on the Japanese recovery since disaster.
Lawmakers also pressed the commissioners on the implementation of nuclear reactor safety enhancements and then turn their attention to the future of the nuclear industry.