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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ISSUES STATEMENT

 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ISSUES STATEMENT
 WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Energy issued


the following statement:
 An Associated Press report of a Senate hearing on Feb. 25, 1992, used comments by two former members of an advisory committee to the Department of Energy to support a statement that the Bush administration has no effective safety policy for dismantling nuclear warheads and shrinking the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. Testimony to the contrary at the hearing by two assistant secretaries of the Department of Energy was ignored by the reporter.
 Secretary of Energy James D. Watkins stated, "It is absolutely incorrect to say that the Department has no effective safety policy for dismantling nuclear warheads. The department has been dismantling thousands of nuclear weapons for over thirty years in accordance with detailed rigorous and proven safety procedures and standards without any serious incidents."
 A new Nuclear Safety Policy for Department nuclear reactors and non- reactor nuclear facilities was issued by Admiral Watkins on Sept. 9, 1991, after extensive review by the entire new team of top nuclear experts assembled by the secretary to improve the operations of the department. The Nuclear Safety Policy is comparable to that issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for operation of commercial nuclear reactors. All operations of the department's nuclear facilities are being conducted safely in accordance with the policy.
 Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy William H. Young noted during the hearing that the views of the two advisory committee members had been carefully evaluated by the department, but had been found not suitable for effective implementation. The difference of opinion between the department and the advisors is over whether detailed safety requirements should be included only


in a policy statement, or in rules and regulations being issued to upgrade operations, the more effective way in which the department is proceeding. Such a difference has nothing to do with nuclear weapons dismantlement.
 -0- 2/26/92
 /CONTACT: Joanne L. Johnson of the Department of Energy, 202-586-5806/ CO: Department of Energy ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


PS -- NY094 -- 3048 02/26/92 20:14 EST
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Date:Feb 26, 1992
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