Washington, D.C. - Today the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) needs to look at evacuation plans after a nuclear plant accident beyond a 10 mile radius.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), said: "Clearly, this is a common sense recommendation after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. After this tragedy, the Japanese government evacuated people within 19 miles of the damaged nuclear power plant, while the American government recommended that those within 50 miles evacuate.

It is of great concern to me that the NRC apparently plans to ignore GAO. I urge them to follow the reasonable recommendations made in this report."

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said: "Today's GAO report shows that we can, and must, do more to prepare for nuclear disasters. Thousands of Rhode Islanders live within the 50-mile emergency planning zone of a nuclear power plant. Ensuring a safe evacuation for our citizens in the event of a disaster is absolutely vital, and I hope this report will spur additional action here in the U.S."

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said: "There are 23 reactors in the United States, including Vermont Yankee, with designs similar to the Fukushima reactor in Japan. Many of them are close to populated areas. The NRC needs to expand its emergency planning procedures to better protect all of the people living near nuclear reactors, not just those in the 10-mile zone."

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) said: "It is clear from this report that more needs to be done to know what residents who live outside of a ten mile radius understand regarding appropriate emergency procedures and what they would do in the event of an emergency at a nuclear power plant. Over 10 million Pennsylvanians, which is 80% of the population of the State, live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant. Strong emergency plans are critical to make sure constituents remain safe in the event of an emergency and that shouldn't stop at a 10 mile radius."

This report was requested by Senators Boxer, Casey, Whitehouse and Sanders.