Senators warn of safety risks at closed reactors

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Five U.S. senators say federal regulators need to keep more emergency and security regulations in place at shuttered nuclear power plants that store tons of spent radioactive fuel.

The senators say in a letter Friday to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane that the agency has been freeing closed nuclear plants from certain emergency and security safeguards, even though the spent fuel on site remains dangerous.

They warn a fire involving old fuel could lead to radioactive releases and contamination.

The letter was sent by Democrats Barbara Boxer of California, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The letter says exemptions have been granted at 10 shuttered reactors, some dating to the 1980s, and others are expected.

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