Carper Questioned Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman on Radioactive Water Leak at Salem 1 Nuclear Plant

Senator is Ranking Democrat on Nuclear Safety Subcommittee

Washington, DC – Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) questioned Nuclear Regulatory Commission members today on the radioactive water leak at the Salem 1 Nuclear Plant, during a hearing of the Clean Air, Climate Change and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee. Two groundwater wells near the power plant have shown elevated levels of tritium. The contamination was discovered in December, but was not reported publicly until last week. Carper is the Ranking Democrat on the EPW Subcommittee, which also has jurisdiction over clean air issues. He plans to reintroduce his “4-Pollutant” bill this session. Carper repeatedly asked Commission Chairman Richard Meserve, as well as the other four commissioners about the delay in the public notification of the contamination discovery. “The best way to confront those who are skeptical about nuclear power is with facts,” Carper said. “(The NRC) needs to be more forthcoming with the people of New Jersey and Delaware. We need information that is both good and accurate. And we need to make sure that Commissioner Diaz’s commitment to perfection is honored.” “We expect our nuclear facilities to operate under the absolute highest levels of safety and concern for the public,” Carper said. “The Delaware Valley deserves some answers.” Also today, Senator Tom Carper applauded Senator Jim Jeffords and his co-sponsors of the “Clean Power Act of 2003” for focusing on “4 Pollutants” and making an effort to reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Last session, Carper introduced the moderate and bipartisan “Clean Air Planning Act of 2002” which also focused on “4 Pollutants” including carbon reduction. The President’s Clear Skies plan, supported by Environment and Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe, does not address CO2 emissions, which Senator Carper believes must be part of any proposal considered by the Senate this year. “My hope is that we can reach consensus on a bill to reduce harmful power plant emissions, including those responsible for global warming. Shortly, Senator Chafee (R-RI) and I will reintroduce a proposal to do just that,” Carper said. SATELLITE FEED AVAILABLE TODAY: 4:20-4:25 p.m.–Galaxy 3, Transponder 7, Downlink 3840