Gov. Deval Patrick said he's planning to meet with Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials this week to discuss safety at local nuclear plants as public concerns about nuclear power mounts.
Also Monday, Senate President Therese Murray said lawmakers plan to hold an oversight hearing with officials from three regional power plants next week to learn more about their safety systems and emergency preparedness.
Patrick said the accident this month in Japan has renewed focus on the question of nuclear power safety.
"I've been briefed by our own emergency management folks, who are in regular touch with the NRC, but I want to hear it directly from them and I'm looking forward to putting some direct questions to them," he said.
Murray said lawmakers are planning an April 6 hearing with operators of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth and two other plants near the Massachusetts border: the Seabrook plant in New Hampshire and the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.
The Plymouth Democrat said the hearing will be overseen by three legislative panels, the committees on public safety, energy and the environment.
Murray said that the Pilgrim plant has safety and backup systems including a separate diesel-fueled backup generator that can keep the plant running for up to seven days and a pipe that can vent steam to avoid the pressure buildup that the plant in Japan experienced.
"We do have a lot of things in place, but we want the public to know that, plus we want more information on what else needs to be done," Murray said.
Patrick said he hopes to rely on Murray's experience when crafting questions for NRC officials.
The meeting and oversight hearing follows a letter that Murray and Attorney General Martha Coakley sent last week to top federal regulators urging them to re-examine the safety of the wet storage of spent fuel at the Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee plants.
Wet storage was also used at the Japanese complex.
In the letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko, Murray and Coakley said regulators need to rescind their finding that wet fuel storage doesn't create an environmental risk and consider mandating dry cask storage for spent fuel.
The two also said they're "deeply concerned" that the federal government hasn't fulfilled its obligation to begin removal of nuclear waste in 1998, as required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.
Murray said Monday that energy customers, including those in Massachusetts, have paid into the fund, which now totals $24 billion.
"They should send it back to us so that we can make these places safe and store this stuff safely," Murray said Monday.