Senator Tom Carper Statement
Full Environment and Public Works Committee and Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Join Hearing: “Oversight Hearing: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Preliminary Results of the Nuclear Safety Review in the United States following the Emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant in Japan.”
June 16, 2011
"Currently, this country has 104 nuclear power reactors licensed to operate in 31 states. Collectively, these nuclear power plants generate approximately 20 percent of our nation's total electric consumption. These nuclear power plants have helped curb our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and helped reduce air pollution that damages our health and causes global warming.
"Just yesterday, this committee was discussing the thousands of lives that are at risk from fossil-fuel power plant air pollution – pollution that is not emitted from a nuclear plant. However, as we saw the crisis unfold at the Fukushima Daiichi facility, one wrong step at a nuclear power plant could have big consequences.
"Over the years, my colleagues and I on this committee have worked with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to ensure that we have a 'culture of safety' at every one of our U.S. nuclear energy reactors. Despite all the protections we have in place for our nuclear reactors, the tragedy in Japan should serve as a clear warning that we must not become complacent when it comes to nuclear safety. A disaster could happen anywhere, anytime.
"As I often say, if it is not perfect, make it better. That is why Chairman Boxer and I asked the NRC for a comprehensive review of our nuclear fleet. We wanted to make sure every precaution is being taken to safeguard the American people from a similar nuclear incident.
"Today, I am anxious to hear the first readouts from the NRC on this review. I look forward to working with the NRC to ensure that we incorporate the right lessons learned to keep our nuclear fleet safe into the future."