The Nuclear Regulatory Commission tends to float a bit above the political fray - you could say it sticks to its knitting, keeps it head down, insert additional cliche here - so it's a genuine surprise that it has made salient comments - any comments at all - about state legislation that blasts nuclear energy.
But that's what happened in Massachusetts:
In July, the Bay State's House passed a resolution in support of efforts to have independent safety assessments conducted at nuclear power plants in Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire [we don't know how Vermont and New Hampshire feel about this, but knowing New Englanders, probably snorts all around].
Then there's this:
The Legislature also resolved that it's time the nation begin its transition "away from nuclear power to an affordable, clean and sustainable national energy policy."
And what has inflamed the pawk the caw types?
The resolution had several bullet points that were of concern to the House of Representatives. Those included were accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and an earthquake that affected nuclear reactors in Japan.
TMI? Chernobyl? How, uh, 1990 of them. And thus does the NRC put things into better perspective:
"I understand the concerns raised by the Commonwealth," wrote Samuel J. Collins, an NRC regional administrator, in response to the resolution. "However, I feel it is necessary to address some of the statements and assumptions conveyed in that document to dispel any misconceptions you may have with our regulatory role, performance, or processes."
We won't go over all of that here, because you know what Collins is going to say,though by all means read through the story - Collins responds to everything in a measured fashion and proves himself an excellent spokesman.
What's notable here is that the NRC has not let this legislative mischief go without comment. The implication of their response is that while issues around nuclear energy should be fully discussed, and that men and women of good will will have variant viewpoints, one must still start with the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions and good legislation.
We'd guess that Massachusetts lawmakers are up to some election year politicking and pushing some go-to fear buttons rather heedlessly. Wonderful to see the NRC throw the warm water of facts into the gummy mix.
Picture of the Massachusetts State House.