Sen. Sanders & Rep. Welch Bills Would Give States More Say in Nuclear Plant Shutdowns

By Joe Gullo

Published 05/13 2014 12:02PM

Updated 05/13 2014 12:06PM

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced legislation to give states a greater role in decommissioning nuclear power plants. U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House.

A press release says the legislation would require plant operators to consult with states within 50 miles of a plant before submitting a decommissioning plan to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

“Currently a nuclear plant operator could adopt a decommissioning plan that ignores the needs and interests of the public and the state would have no recourse. That is fundamentally unfair and unreasonable,” Sen. Sanders said. “This is simply about ensuring that states have the opportunity to play a meaningful role in a decision that has enormous economic, environmental and community impacts.”

The bill would also require the NRC to get input from the public and to approve or reject proposed decommissioning plans. 

“States hosting nuclear power plants should have a seat at the table during the decommissioning process,” said Rep. Welch. “In any state, but particularly Vermont, decommissioning has numerous implications for the environment, economy, work force and tax base.  This bill will ensure that Vermont is not on the outside looking in as the NRC makes key decisions affecting our state.” 

Sanders’ bill is cosponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate committee with jurisdiction over the NRC, and Ed Markey (D-Mass.). 

Sanders also cosponsored separate Boxer and Markey bills that also were introduced Tuesday on nuclear power plant safety. 

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