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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Response To Nuclear Leaks Was Very Good By Barack Obama

The New York Times ran an extensive article today on Senator Barack Obama's response to tritium leaks at the Braidwood nuclear plant in his home state of Illinois in 2005. AAEA believes Senator Obama did everything in his power to positively address the leaks at the plant and to protect the public from future leaks. As the article says, when he heard about the leaks

"Mr. Obama scolded Exelon and federal regulators for inaction and introduced a bill to require all plant owners to notify state and local authorities immediately of even small leaks."
Obama led the effort in the Senate to require utilities to notify the public of any unplanned release of radioactive substances. Senator Obama introduced the Nuclear Release Notice Act of 2006 (S 2348), which stated that nuclear plants “shall immediately” notify federal, state and local officials of any accidental release of radioactive material that exceeded “allowable limits for normal operation.” A revised bill passed out of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, but did not pass the full Senate. The revised bill eliminated the requirement for reporting repeated accidental leaks that fell below allowable limits and kept enforcement authority with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and not state or local governments.

AAEA supports the revised legislation (S 2224). AAEA also has a 'zero leak' policy. Nuclear plants should work to assure that there are no accidental radioactive discharges, but where there are unplanned, accidental or unintentional radioactive leaks that exceed allowable Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) limits and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits, plants should immediately notify state and local authorities and nearby residents. (See also:"Barack Obama On Nuclear Power: Groundwater Leaks.) (AAEA Tour of Clinton, Ill Nuclear Plant)

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