State Aims to Slow Nuclear Plant Relicensing

By Jordan Weinstein

April 6, 2012

pilgrim nuclear

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant's current license expires this year. (Courtesy of Entergy)

BOSTON — Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed an appeal challenging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to go ahead with hearings to grant a new 20-year license extension for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth.
> > WGBH NEWS SPECIAL COVERAGE: Power Struggle: The Fight over Pilgrim Nuclear
Coakley said an independent expert has concluded that the risks of operating Pilgrim are greater than originally thought and that certain improvements should be made to the plant before a new license is granted. “There should be better and longer backup power systems, or there should be instrumentation to verify the cooling systems are functioning properly. Or to make sure there are improved valves and containment to reduce pressure on the reactor,” she said.
The goal, Coakley said, is to guarantee that the NRC considers the environmental and public safety implications of the 2011 Fukushima accident while allowing a meaningful opportunity for public comment.
State Sen. Dan Wolf (D-Harwich) agreed, saying that lessons learned from Fukushima should be explored in an open, public process and applied to the Pilgrim relicensing process, particularly in regards to on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel rods.
The appeal was filed on April 4 in the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

> > READ: More from Coakley's office on Pilgrim

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