Vitter Summary Statement for Nuclear Reactor Decommissioning Hearing
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works “Nuclear Reactor Decommissioning: Stakeholder Views”
May 14, 2014
Thank you, Chairman Boxer, for convening today's hearing, and I would also like to thank our distinguished witnesses for providing testimony this morning.
The regulations enforcing security and safety standards during the nuclear reactor decommissioning process are very important to the people who live around and work in these facilities, a factor we must consider as more plants are forced to shut down due to an erratic regulatory environment.
This is why today's hearing is crucial. Before changes are made to the nuclear decommissioning process, we must hear from those directly impacted to ensure a safe and viable way to move forward.
In a number of these hearings I have noted that regulating just to regulate is a senseless act that causes direct harm to our economy, power supply, and the families who depend on nuclear power to meet their energy needs.
Unfortunately, there are individuals always looking for new ways to regulate, even with limited or no apparent justification. Recent efforts to alter the nuclear decommissioning process include proposing new standards that are not based on sound science or a justifiable need.
Since the 1960s, the United States has decommissioned eleven nuclear reactors with seventeen still going through that process. Throughout this 50-plus year period not once has there been a mishap in the process that has resulted in harm to the public safety.
This committee is purposed with ensuring that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) rules for decommissioning are sufficient to meet the needs of the people we represent.
Safety remains a major priority for this committee. And as the witnesses testify before us today, we will likely hear claims supporting new changes and alterations to the current decommissioning process.
However, I would like to remind folks that many of these alterations do not survive a clear cost-benefit analysis, and are only intended to provide talking points for increased federal interference in our economy.
We will hear calls for the NRC to accept changes to the framework that the Commission's own employees have criticized and opposed, even going so far as noting that further investment of time and money into these issues is wasteful.
I am completely supportive of regulatory efforts that are necessary and make sense, but our current process is successful and there is no urgent need to deviate from that path.
Again, thank you all very much for being here, and I look forward to hearing from each of you on these important issues.