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Coalition calls for OIG investigation into NRC vote against GE BWR Mark I/II radiation filters

On the third anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, Beyond Nuclear was joined by dozens of allied grassroots groups across the country in requesting that the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiate an inquiry into public health and safety matters relating to the NRC's post-Fukushima severe accident countermeasures.

The request regards severe accident countermeasures for the unreliable containment systems on General Electric Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactors (BWR) as identified in “Consideration of Additional Requirements for Containment Venting Systems for Boiling Water Reactors with Mark I and Mark II Containments” (SECY 2012-0157) and the subsequent “Issuance of Order to Modify Licenses with regard to Reliable Hardened Containment Vents Capable of Operation Under Severe Accident Conditions,”( EA 2013-109).

The coalition urges OIG to investigate perceived undue bias of the majority of NRC Commissioners to protect industry financial interests, over public health and safety interests, in a March 19, 2013 vote. Four of the five NRC Commissioners voted to reject the NRC's Japan Lessons Learned Project Directorate staff recommendation to Order the installation of engineered external radiation filters on severe accident capable hardened containment vents.

By its majority vote, the Commission rejected the combined quantitative and qualitative cost-benefit analyses duly performed by the NRC technical staff to justify the associated costs in recommending an Order to require both Option 2 (severe accident capable hardened containment vents) and Option 3 (engineered external high capacity radiation filtration systems on hardened containment vents) be installed on all U.S. GE Mark I and Mark II Boiling Water Reactors.

NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane was the only Commissioner to vote for filters.

Beyond Nuclear launched its Freeze Our Fukushimas campaign, calling for the permanent shutdown of GE BWR Mark Is and IIs, in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe.