Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey)
Mary Kerry/Kate Gilman (Boxer)
Michael Briggs (Sanders)
Senators Markey, Boxer and Sanders Call for Increased Safety at Nuclear Plants
Trio of bills address safety of spent fuel storage and decommissioning plans
Washington (April 15, 2015) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reintroduced three bills today aimed at improving the safety and security of decommissioning reactors and the storage of spent nuclear fuel at nuclear plants across the nation.

When spent nuclear fuel is removed from the part of the reactor that generates electricity, it continues to produce significant quantities of heat and radiation for years.  Spent nuclear fuel is too dangerous to be removed from the spent fuel pools for five to seven years.  Studies conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and independent experts have shown that partial draining of the water from a spent fuel pool caused by an accident or terrorist attack could result in a spontaneous fire, the release of large quantities of radiation, and widespread contamination.  However, NRC regulations allow spent fuel to remain stored in spent fuel pools until the reactor completes decommissioning, which can take as long as 60 years. Current NRC regulations also allow the NRC and the nuclear plant operator to adopt a decommissioning plan without considering the concerns of nearby states and communities. The three bills introduced today will address all of these problems.

“An accident at an overstuffed spent fuel pool like the one at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Massachusetts would be as disastrous as an accident at an operating nuclear reactor,” said Senator Markey, top Democrat on the Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee. “ Pilgrim’s spent fuel pool contains nearly four times more radioactive waste than it was originally designed to hold. We need to ensure dangerous nuclear waste is moved to safer storage before a nuclear disaster occurs.”

““In my home state of California, the San Onofre nuclear plant closed permanently,” said Senator Boxer, Ranking Member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW). “Our legislation will ensure that the San Onofre facility, and others like it across the nation, are safely decommissioned and that the surrounding communities are protected.”

“Currently a nuclear plant operator could adopt a decommissioning plan that ignores the needs and interests of the public and the state would have no recourse,” said Senator Sanders. “That is fundamentally unfair and unreasonable. This is simply about ensuring that states have the opportunity to play a meaningful role in a decision that has enormous economic, environmental and community impacts.”

Safe and Secure Decommissioning Act of 2015 (Boxer, Sanders, Markey)
The Safe and Secure Decommissioning Act would prohibit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from issuing exemptions from its emergency response or security requirements for spent fuel stored at nuclear reactors that have permanently shut down until all of the spent nuclear fuel stored at the site has been moved into dry casks, which are a more secure and safe option for storage. NRC has determined that earthquakes would be the most likely cause of a spent fuel pool failure that could result in a spontaneous fire, the release of large quantities of radiation, and widespread contamination, but has granted every request from emergency response requirements that it has ever received from a licensee of a decommissioning reactor.

Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of 2015 (Sanders, Boxer, Markey)
The Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act would ensure that states and local communities have a meaningful role in the crafting and preparation of decommissioning plans for retired nuclear plants located in those areas.  The bill also requires NRC to publicly and transparently approve or reject every proposed decommissioning plan, which it currently is not required to do.

Dry Cask Storage Act of 2015 (Markey, Boxer, Sanders)
The Dry Cask Storage Act would ensure that every nuclear reactor operator complies with an NRC-approved plan that would require the safe removal of spent nuclear fuel from the spent fuel pools and place that spent fuel into dry cask storage within 7 years of the time the plan is submitted to the NRC.  The legislation also provides funding to help reactor licensees implement the plans and expands the emergency planning zone for non-compliant reactor operators to 50 miles.


No: 15-023                                                                                                        April 10, 2015

CONTACT: Scott Burnell,


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the proposed indirect transfer of the operating licenses for Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2. The reactors are in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, about 70 miles northeast of Harrisburg.

PPL Susquehanna LLC applied for the indirect transfer on July 11, 2014, and updated the application several times through March 2015. The transfer involves transactions where PPL Corporation, PPL Susquehanna's current parent, will spin off PPL Energy Supply, which will include the Susquehanna reactors. Energy Supply will become a wholly owned subsidiary of a new company, Talen Energy Holdings, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of a new parent company, Talen Energy Corporation. Following the transactions, PPL Susquehanna will be renamed Susquehanna Nuclear LLC, which will hold the reactors’ licenses and operating authority.

The NRC’s review of the transfer application concludes the transfer will maintain public health and safety and will meet the relevant agency regulations. The indirect transfer will maintain PPL Susquehanna/Susquehanna Nuclear as the licensed operator. The transfer will also maintain the reactors’ licensing bases, principal officers, managers, staff and day-to-day management and operations.

On Oct. 24, 2014, Mr. Douglas Ritter of Berwick, Pa., submitted a petition for leave to intervene and requested a hearing on the transfer application. The Commission continues to consider the hearing request.

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March 2015

PUC Approves PPL Spinoff, Epstein Seeks Shareholder Vote

On March 11, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved the transfer of PPL Electric Utility Corporation’s indirect ownership interests in PPL Interstate Energy Company (PPL IEC) to a new entity called Talen Energy Corporation (Talen Energy). The approval also authorized the acquisition of Riverstone Holdings LLC of an indirect 35 percent ownership interest in Talen Energy.

What all that means is that PPL shareholders will own 65% of a new company, Talen Energy, which on its first day of operation will be one of the nation’s largest independent power producers and one of America’s biggest companies. The other 35% will be held by Riverstone, a private equity firm focused on leveraged buyout and growth capital investments in the energy and power sectors.

PPL, which for years was our locally owned and operated neighborhood utility, is now operating internationally and keeping company with venture capitalists like Riverstone, an enterprise with historic roots in companies like Enron and Goldman Sachs.

Interestingly, this is all taking place without the action being put to a vote of PPL shareholders. One of them, TMI Alert Chair Eric Epstein, says the transaction should be reviewed by shareholders. He requested that the company provide information to shareholders relating to a vote in materials circulated prior to PPL’s May 20 annual meeting. The company and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) opposed the request, but Epstein will appeal.

Related to this, at the NRC, PPL requested a license transfer for the Susquehanna nuclear plant in Berwick, which TMI Alert and PPL retiree Douglas Ritter, who lives 3.25miles from the plant, have opposed. TMIA and
Ritter raised concerns regarding Talen’s ability to properly operate and maintain the plant and provide funds to ensure its proper decommissioning. Epstein noted that the NRC downgraded PPL’s license status because of recent unexpected shutdowns at Susquehanna and noted, “It shouldn’t be about capitalization, but operating a plant efficiently, safely, and reliably.”


Your TMIA 2015 Dues Are Due


Vigil Set for 36th Anniversary

Like every March 28th, safe energy activists will gather this year at the north gate of Three Mile Island at 3:15 a.m. to commemorate the 36th anniversary of the beginning of the nuclear accident. According to vigil organizer Gene Stilp, the group will be there for approximately one hour. Traditionally, the group meets for breakfast afterward.


Stilp Retires, sort of...

Though he’ll be at the annual vigil at TMI’s north gate, political activist Gene Stilp announced in February his retirement from pro- bono activism. His eye on the powers that be will be missed, as will his creative, thorn-in-the- side tactics. For example, when the Marcellus Shale Coalition staged a march last May to rally on the Capitol steps, Gene jumped in front of the march with a banner of his own reading:

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For Immediate Release
Date: Tuesday, March 10, 2015
CONTACT: Kristen Orthman

Reid, Heller Introduce Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act
Heck & Titus Introduce Companion Bill in House


Topics in this issue include:


PUC Approves PPL Spinoff, Epstein Seeks Shareholder

Vigil Set for 36th Anniversary

Stilp Retires, sort of...

Chernobyl Linked to Agressive Thyroid Cancers

Chernobyl Cleanup Workers Show Leukemia Increase

U.N. Report on Fukushima Risks Panned as Unscientific

Members Mourn Passing of Leaders

Epstein Appeals Approval for Peach Bottom to Up Power Output

Design Student Creates “TMI 35 Years Later”



This book was my challenge to break through the barrier of Japan's media industry's business downturn and self censorship and to deliver the news of nuclear disaster to the global audience. So please pass around this message on internet/SNS/ or by word of mouth.

Your help would be most appreciated. Thank you in advance.


UGAYA, Hiromichi
Journalist / Photographer



NRC Issues Order to Honeywell to Address Discrimination Concerns

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a confirmatory order to Honeywell International, Inc., requiring new training, communications, policies and guidance following an incident in which a contractor for the company terminated an employee, allegedly in part because the employee reported smelling alcohol on a supervisor’s breath while on duty.

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March 13, 2015

Annette L. Vietti-Cook
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington, DC 20555-0001

Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff


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