Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Challenge to Pilgrim license is kept active

A ruling by top federal regulators has kept alive a challenge mounted by regional watchdog group Pilgrim Watch to a 20-year license extension for the Pilgrim nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission directed both Pilgrim Watch and the Plymouth plant's owner, Entergy, to supply arguments by June 25 on whether federal regulators should hear more evidence on the potentially catastrophic consequences of a nuclear accident.

The commission, a five-member body appointed by the president to oversee regulation of the nuclear materials industry, ruled on June 4 that Pilgrim Watch has raised enough questions on the methods the agency currently uses to measure the spread of radioactivity from a serious nuclear accident to justify a closer look.

Pilgrim Watch contended that regulators' analysis of the impact of a severe accident "was deficient because the input data for evacuation times, economic consequences, and meteorological patterns are incorrect, with further analysis required," NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said.

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