Kerry Urges Caution On Nuclear Power

Published March 14, 2011

The ongoing crisis in Japan has put nuclear safety back in the public eye. The crisis comes after the Obama administration suggested nuclear power as an alternative energy source to pursue.

But Sen. John Kerry today urged caution on the administration’s call. He says the public, seeing the threat of a nuclear meltdown grip Japan, will want guarantees that nuclear plants are safe, even under worse-case scenarios.

“We clearly need to have a new generation of safer, more fail-safe plants if any are going to be built,” the senior senator said while visiting a South End school. “Obviously this is going to go through a much greater scrutiny. It ought to. There’ll be a much tougher standard. There ought to be. Whether there’s any at all.”

Kerry criticized Japan’s decision to allow nuclear plants so close to the ocean in an earthquake-prone area. He said it’s fortunate for residents around the Plymouth Pilgrim Nuclear Station that the region has no history of earthquakes or tsunamis.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ed Markey is calling for potassium iodide pills to be distributed to anyone living within 20 miles of a nuclear plant. The pills are meant to be taken during a nuclear emergency to protect the body from radiation.

Markey authored a law requiring the pills nine years ago, but in a letter today, the congressman complained that the law was never implemented.

Markey has also called for inspections to nuclear plants that are similar in design to those damaged in Japan.