Contact: KatherineFuchs , Alliance for Nuclear Accountability - firstname.lastname@example.org, 414-324-4228
Aaron Albright, Rep.George Miller’s office – email@example.com, (202) 226-0853
This week, the fullHouse will debate two important amendments to last week’s National DefenseAuthorization Act (NDAA) related to nuclear safety: one offered byRepresentatives Miller (CA), Visclosky (IN), and Sanchez (CA) to strike NDAAprovisions that would erode safety standards and weaken oversight, and anotheroffered by Rep. Smith (WA) that would strike provisions removing nuclearweapons from the Secretary of Energy’s jurisdiction.
The Milleret al. amendment would protect the “adequate protection standard” that hasguided nuclear safety oversight for more than a quarter century, ensure thatnuclear oversight agencies retain a “transactional” oversight model, andprevent new layers of bureaucracy from undermining technical experts. The Smithamendment would preserve the authority of the Secretary of Energy over theNational Nuclear Security Administration.
Right now nuclearoversight is “transactional”, meaning that it prescribes best practices forcontractors to follow in the hopes of avoiding an accident. “Performance-based”oversight – the standard that the NDAA would dictate – is the style used by theNational Transportation Safety Board, which would only investigate an airline’ssafety procedures based on an airline’s performance after a plane crash.
Katherine Fuchs,Program Director for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (ANA) said “Theresults of the U.S. nuclear complex regulating itself are evident in thebillions of dollars that the federal government has paid in compensation tosick nuclear workers and contaminated communities. The current NDAA’s shift tocontractor self-regulation puts the fox in charge of the henhouse.”
“The decades thatcommunities surrounding the U.S. nuclear complex struggled for justice,compensation, and hope for future generations must not be diminished by thisCongress. The Miller and Smith amendments would ensure that others don’t haveto struggle the way my family has.” said ANA Board member Sharon Cowdrey. Ms.Cowdrey is the president of Miamisburg Environmental Safety & Health andworked for cleanup at the Mound Site, part of NDAA author Rep. Mike Turner’shome district, where nuclear weapons components were manufactured.
ANA is a nationalnetwork of organizations living in the shadows of the nuclear weapons complex. ANAand 32 other organizations recently sent a letterto House members requesting support for the amendments to protect safetystandards on strengthen oversight of nuclear weapons facilities.