Henry Waxman Wants Nuclear Safety Hearings

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 14 2011 4:00 PM

Henry Waxman Wants Nuclear Safety Hearings

He and the ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittees have sent a letter to their Republican counterparts asking for hearings on nuclear safety, which Republicans are already hinting at. (At today's markup on two bills, Chairman Fred Upton said they would "have conversations in due time" about nuclear power security.)

From the letter:

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The nuclear industry has downplayed the significance of the events in Japan. Over the weekend, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry's lobbying organization, said: "Obviously, any time you have an incident at a nuclear power plant, it's not good... but in the scheme of things, is it a disaster? We don't think so."

The nuclear industry has also asserted that it is far better prepared to respond to a nuclear accident than the oil industry was in responding to the blowout of BP's Macondo well... we hope the nuclear industry's self-confidence is warranted, but we should not accept the industry's assurances without conducting our own independent evaluations of the risks posed by nuclear reactors in the United States and the preparedness of industry and regulators to respond to those risks.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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