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Letter to the Hon. Kristine Svinicki, Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Mucarsel-Powell Urges Nuclear Regulators For Deeper Inspection Of Turkey Point Power Plant Operations In Light Of Recent Unplanned Shutdowns


Date: Sept. 1, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Dear Chairman Svinicki:

The health and safety of my constituents is my top priority. I am deeply troubled by recent reports that the Turkey Point nuclear power plant experienced three unplanned shutdowns (scrams) within three days.

The special inspection of the facility announced by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is much needed. It is crucial, however, that this inspection look beyond these three shutdowns and dive deeply into safety practices at the power plant.

As you know, only weeks before the three scrams, an NRC investigation1 confirmed that in January 2019, plant employees had falsified records related to inspection and maintenance of a safety-related valve. And later in 2019, the NRC completed an inspection2 at the plant that discovered other improper practices related to valve inspections and maintenance. While the report described the issues as having "very low safety significance," some in the scientific community have expressed to me that this classification is not suitable and that the problems should have been taken more seriously. Given recent events, I urge you to seriously scrutinize the culture of safety at the power plant, both in recent weeks and over past years, to determine if there are larger, more systemic issues that may have been missed previously.

Furthermore, I ask that you detail for the public if, and the extent to which, employees at the plant and the public were placed in harm's way from each of the three recent shutdown events.

Thank you for your immediate attention to these issues, and I look forward to your prompt response.