U.S. Representatives John Tierney and Edward Markey, both Massachusetts Democrats, said their proposal – the Nuclear Reactor Safety First Act – would provide “greater certainty” over the safety of older nuclear plants, according to a release.
Markey stated that the legislation would ensure “the effects of aging on America’s nuclear power plants are more well-known before granting any license extensions.”
The newly introduced legislation would prevent the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from granting a license renewal to any plant which applies more than 10 years prior to the expiration of the existing operating license.
The NRC has approved license extensions for 73 of the nation’s 104 reactors. No relicensing requests have been denied. Of the 13 reactors currently seeking license extensions at the NRC, nine have licenses that do not expire for more than a decade.
“It seems crazy that the NRC would even consider relicensing aging nuclear plants more than a decade before its license expires,” said Tierney. “As these facilities age, safety concerns inevitably arise.”