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Responses from Chairman Dale Klein and Commissioner Gregory Jaczko, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, on Safety Planning in Next-Generation Reactor Design Standards

Dec 7, 2006
Letter
Letterhead image, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman
December 7, 2006

The Honorable Bart Gordon
Ranking Member, Committee on Science
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Gordon:

On behalf of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), I am responding to your letter of October 27, 2006, in which you inquired about the actions that the NRC has taken to incorporate lessons learned from prior studies into its regulatory framework for new reactors. Specifically, your letter requests that the NRC describe how it has factored security enhancements into recently certified reactor designs as well as what the NRC is doing, or planning to do, regarding the implementation of security measures in the next generation of nuclear plants now being designed. I want to assure you that the NRC has taken significant steps to increase security at the Nation's nuclear power plants and that these lessons are being applied to the next generation of nuclear power plants. The NRC has worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, and its licensees in enhancing homeland security and preparedness....

Commissioner Jaczko does not agree with the substance of this letter and will provide a separate letter setting forth his views. If you have further questions, please contact me. In addition, the NRC staff would be pleased to brief you on these issues at your convenience.

Sincerely,
Dale E. Klein

 

Letterhead image, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman
December 6, 2006

The Honorable Bart Gordon
Ranking Member, Committee on Science
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Gordon:

I am writing in response to your October 27, 2006, letter to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concerning the steps the agency has taken to strengthen the security requirements for new nuclear power reactor designs. I appreciate the opportunity to explain my views on the need to ensure that any new plants are designed and built to be inherently more safe and secure.

... I believe that the Commission should go much farther than its current requirements. As the independent regulator, the NRC should not simply share insights for consideration by vendors and ask applicants to conduct vulnerability assessments for how their designs may react to security threats such as aircraft crashes. Instead, the Commission should act quickly to put in place a regulatory framework which mandates that any new plants be designed and built to successfully withstand commercial aircraft crashes and large fires and explosions.

Sincerely,
Gregory B. Jaczko

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Subcommittees: 
109th Congress