DOE Wants NRC Oversight

December 27, 1996

DOE Wants NRC Oversight

Energy Department officials have anounced they will ask Congress to transfer oversight authority for the safety of DOE's nuclear sites, some of which are contaminated, from the department to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Officials said they believed that outside, independent oversight would make nuclear sites safer and healthier. They want to phase in NRC oversight over 10 years.

The Energy Department estimates external oversight would cost about $135 million annually. But DOE officials say that overall nuclear safety and health costs should still go down as the number of nuclear facilities declines.

Reuters news agency reports that the NRC has not taken an official position on whether it wants to oversee DOE facilities, but NRC chairwoman Shirley Jackson has said her agency would be the appropriate oversight body.

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