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Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2011
Contact: media@nei.org, 202.739.8000 or 703.644.8805 (after hours and weekends)

US Nuclear Energy Industry Cites Successful Safety Model of Stringent National Regulation

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, Tony Pietrangelo, made the following comments about today’s United Nations meeting on Nuclear Safety and Security.

“The Nuclear Energy Institute strongly supports efforts to re-examine safety at nuclear power plants worldwide and to apply lessons learned from the recent events at Japan’s Fukushima power station as warranted. Safety is a top priority for our industry.

“The current framework of stringent national regulation, coupled with a full commitment by the industry to continuously evaluate and improve safety, is the best way to ensure the safety of nuclear power. Our industry is working with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to enhance the safety of U.S. nuclear power plants and to capture and apply lessons learned from Japan in a comprehensive manner. This is the best way to assure that nuclear energy continues to play a strong role in meeting the nation’s energy needs with reliable, low-carbon electricity generation.

“Our industry already has taken significant independent action to enhance safety. Within days of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, our industry launched a thorough review of safety preparations, procedures and equipment at every U.S. nuclear energy facility. Safety experts re-examined their safety plans and their ability to implement them.

“We have also established the Fukushima Response Steering Committee to ensure that the industry’s response to the events in Japan is effectively integrated among all companies and organizations and that there are no gaps in the industry’s response. The committee will coordinate response activities in areas that are well-aligned with areas separately identified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“This combination of rigorous government oversight and nuclear industry commitment to safety has proven to be successful. It is imperative that we build on this safety model to ensure that natural disasters like that which struck Japan on March 11 are not compounded by their impacts on nuclear energy facilities. We are committed to enhancing our facilities’ multilayered protective systems with additional layers of protection that will make them even better equipped to withstand extreme events, regardless of their cause.”