Entergy has requested extension to comply with post-Fukushima safety updates until 2019, the date of closure
Washington (September 22, 2016) – The Massachusetts Congressional delegation yesterday sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) asking it to deny Entergy’s request for an extension for critical safety upgrades to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. When Entergy announced its intention to cease operations at Pilgrim by 2019, the NRC stated that the closure “will not relieve [Entergy] of the responsibility of running that plant as safely as possible until the end of its life.” If approved by NRC, Entergy’s request for extension would run directly counter to that responsibility, as it would increase the risk of a containment failure and a catastrophic radioactive release in the event of a terrorist attack or severe accident. In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force recommended a series of safety upgrades for America’s nuclear fleet, including the requirement to install hardened containment vents capable of operating under severe accident conditions. Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station has the same design at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor.
Signing the letter are Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and Reps. Michael E. Capuano, William R. Keating, Joseph P. Kennedy, III, Stephen F. Lynch, James P. McGovern, Seth Moulton, Richard Neal, Niki Tsongas.
“Notwithstanding its intention to shut down the plant, Entergy has a paramount responsibility to minimize the risk of catastrophic accidents similar to the one that occurred at Fukushima,” write the delegation in the letter to NRC chairman Stephen Burns. “Exempting Pilgrim from the NRC’s safety requirements would allow Entergy to abdicate that responsibility, unjustifiably exposing Massachusetts communities to danger.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Last year, the Massachusetts delegation called on the NRC to commit to needed measures to ensure Pilgrim is properly decommissioned after Entergy announced it would close nuclear power plant after it was listed in “Column 4” of its reactor safety ratings, its least safe rating for an operating reactor.