Nuclear Safety Concerns Mirrored in Oil Industry

Proposed climate/energy legislation could put the U.S. nuclear sector on the same dangerous path as the oil industry by undermining safety reviews and truncating the licensing process for new reactors.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (PR Newswire) — There is now widespread agreement about the role played in the BP oil spill by safety deregulation and the uncritical adoption of industry-supported "streamlining" of federal oversight.

Now, experts will warn at 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday (June 23, 2010) that proposed climate/energy legislation would put the United States on the same dangerous path in the nuclear sector by undermining safety reviews for new reactors, truncating the licensing process for new reactors, and further reducing transparency and public participation in the federal government's regulatory processes.

The proposed nuclear safety and other deregulatory measures are all the more alarming because they would scale back a nuclear regulatory system that already has been severely weakened over the past several decades in response to industry demands. Even more startling than the prospect that safety laws for licensing of nuclear reactors could be further weakened is the fact that current system for federal oversight of the nuclear industry is being touted as a model for the oil industry — even as the nuclear industry and its Capitol Hill advocates quietly work to put in place the same kind of slashes to regulation that are widely regarded as contributing directly to the BP oil spill.

The experts also will debunk the notion that the BP oil spill somehow makes a case for more nuclear reactors in the U.S. In fact, the oil spill shows there is a need for clean, renewable power sources that do not have the considerable safety problems associated with oil, coal and nuclear power.

Speakers on the live, two-way phone-based news event (with full Q&A) at 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday will include:

  • Dr. Jeff Patterson, president, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI.
  • Peter Bradford, former commissioner, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and former chair of both the New York and Maine state utility regulatory commissions.
  • Dr. Edwin Lyman, senior scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists.
  • Diane Curran, Esq., partner, Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, LLP.

TO PARTICIPATE: Join this phone-based news conference at 11 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 by dialing 1 (800) 860-2442. Ask for the "Nuclear is the next BP" news event.

CAN'T PARTICIPATE?: A streaming audio recording of the news event will be available on the Web as of 3 p.m. EDT on June 23, 2010 at

CONTACT: Leslie Anderson, (703) 276-3256 or

SOURCE Physicians for Social Responsibility, Washington, D.C.