Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials have reportedly recommended the agency cut back on inspections of U.S. reactors as a cost-cutting measure.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that NRC officials said that the move would maintain adequate safety measures while allowing the NRC to meet budgetary constraints. The decision was reportedly controversial, however, with some arguing that it exposed the public to unnecessary risk.
This cost-cutting measure “improves efficiency while still helping to ensure reasonable assurance of adequate protection to the public," the NRC said Tuesday in a report, according to the AP.
“NRC shouldn’t perform fewer inspections or weaken its safety oversight to save money," countered commission member Jeff Baran, according to the news service.
“It affects every power reactor in the country,” he told the AP. “We should absolutely hear from a broad range of stakeholders before making any far-reaching changes to NRC’s safety oversight program.”
According to the AP, the measure would reduce the time and scope of some inspections while reducing the frequency of others from every two to every three years.
House Democrats, led by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug Intercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 MORE (D-N.J.), reportedly urged officials to reconsider the changes in a letter.
“Cutting corners on such critical safety measures may eventually lead to a disaster that could be detrimental to the future of the domestic nuclear industry," the Democrats wrote on Monday.