The NRC has exempted the now shut-down Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station from emergency requirements, including a 10-mile emergency planning zone, State House News Service reported.
“U.S. Sen. Edward Markey called it ‘shocking,’ and said he plans to introduce legislation in the U.S. Senate to ‘correct this wrong,’” the news service reported.
“The exemptions were first requested in August by Entergy, the company that has since sold the plant to Holtec International,” State House News reported. “In its request, Entergy said the exemptions ‘would eliminate the requirement for the licensee to maintain formal offsite radiological emergency preparedness plans, but would still require the licensee to maintain certain onsite capabilities to communicate and coordinate with offsite response authorities.’”
In a release, the NRC said it reviewed former Pilgrim owner Entergy’s analysis, and agreed with the findings of that analysis.
“When compared to an operating power reactor, the risk of an offsite radiological release is significantly lower, and the types of possible accidents are significantly fewer at a nuclear power reactor that has permanently ceased operations and removed fuel from the reactor vessel,” the release states.”The NRC staff evaluated and confirmed these analyses, along with considering comments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Based on the NRC staff’s evaluation and recommendation, the Commission approved the exemptions today [Nov. 4].”
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is now owned by Holtec, which intends to decommission the plant.