For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Nathan White (202) 225-5871

Congressman Dennis Kucinich

Kucinich to Investigate Safety of Nuclear Plants

Multiple Close Calls and Recent Radioactivity Release Warrant Scrutiny

WASHINGTON - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee, said today that he will direct his staff to investigate safety concerns in nuclear power plants. The investigation follows the latest safety incident at nuclear power plants in Northeast Ohio, the accidentally discovered release of radioactive water at the Davis-Besse Power Plant in Oak Harbor, Ohio last Friday.

In November 2007, the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Lake County, Ohio automatically shut down when two water-cooling pumps malfunctioned and portions of the backup systems failed. In February 2002, a football-sized crater was accidentally discovered in the reactor vessel and experts predicted the plant might have been as close as 60 days away from bursting the slim steel liner that stood in the way of the radioactive release into the air.

Demonstrating that the safety concerns are not restricted to Ohio is a report on the reactor meltdown risk from fire hazards released today by Beyond Nuclear, the North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Fire hazards are found to be the primary but not the only risk. Other hazards include releases of radioactivity that do not involve a full reactor meltdown, such as the underground leak of tritium-contaminated water at Davis-Besse.

"We must make sure proper oversight on these facilities is being performed in order to protect our environment and our health. Today, I have instructed my staff to investigate the safety issues associated with the operation of nuclear power plants because the dangers to the environment and economy are too great to ignore," stated Kucinich.

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