Regulators extend their review of two Pilgrim power plant appeals
Federal regulators have extended two reviews of appeals filed by critics of a proposal to relicense the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth for another 20 years.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission had initially planned to complete those reviews by Monday, but the commission issued brief statements on Monday saying the reviews would be extended for an unspecified time.
The commission is reviewing Attorney General Martha Coakley’s request to put its relicensing process for Pilgrim on hold until a federal appeals court can make a decision on a related case, according to nuclear agency spokesman Neil Sheehan. As an alternative, Coakley asked the agency to make any approval conditional on the outcome of the court case.
Coakley had sought the federal court’s assistance after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission rebuked Coakley’s request to consider changing the relicensing rules. Coakley wants the agency to pay more attention to the potential hazards of storing spent nuclear fuel at the nuclear power plant sites.
The commission is also reviewing an appeal filed by Pilgrim Watch. The South Shore citizens’ group is appealing a ruling from a panel of judges that acted on behalf of the nuclear agency. The panel had denied Pilgrim Watch’s request to pay more attention to issues with underground pipes and tanks at the Pilgrim plant in the relicensing process.
The commission’s staff has already issued a positive recommendation supporting the renewal of the license for Pilgrim, which is owned by Entergy Corp. The license would extend the nuclear plant’s life from 2012 to 2032.
Pilgrim spokesman David Tarantino said plant officials had hoped that the commission would be ready to give the license renewal a final approval this week.
“I can certainly say that we would rather have had them deny the appeals and approve the license yesterday,” he said on Tuesday. “That would have been wonderful. (But) we’re certainly confident that we will still get a renewed license. It’s just a matter of when.”
The Patriot Ledger