Pilgrim officials confident of license renewal

Lane Lambert

With a public hearing on the Pilgrim nuclear power plant’s monitoring plan less than a week away, officials of the company that owns Pilgrim say they’re confident that a 20-year operating-license renewal is just a step away.

“There’s nothing more we can do” to make the case, Jack Alexander of Entergy Corp. said Thursday during a Patriot Ledger editorial board interview. He is Entergy’s government relations manager.

The New Orleans energy corporation could get a renewal as early as July. That would allow the company to run Pilgrim from 2012 to 2032.

Entergy expected to get the renewal last November, but the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission delayed action to hear a challenge from the Duxbury citizens group Pilgrim Watch.

Entergy and Pilgrim Watch will make their cases to the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board next Thursday at the Radisson hotel in Plymouth. The board will take public comments the night before, at a 6:30 p.m. hearing at the Radisson. Security is expected to be tight.

Pilgrim Watch says Entergy does not have an adequate plan for preventing radioactive leaks from the underground pipes and storage tanks that hold, circulate and discharge the water used to cool the plant’s power-generation equipment.

Pilgrim takes millions of gallons of water from Cape Cod Bay, runs it through the plant and returns it to open water. Alexander and Pilgrim’s communications manager, David Tarantino, said there is no evidence of any corrosion in the underground system, some of which is made of titanium.

Entergy has often seemed dismissive of Pilgrim Watch, but during the editorial board meeting, Tarantino acknowledged that the NRC would not have scheduled next week’s hearing unless it thought the Duxbury group’s concern was legitimate.

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