Federal regulators renew operating license of Pilgrim nuclear plant for 20 years

Federal regulators have approved the renewal of the operating license for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, which will allow it to continue operating for 20 years.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said today it had authorized its staff to renew the license. The staff is expected to renew the license before it expires on June 8.

Entergy Corp., the Louisiana company that has run the plant since 1999, has sparked a raft of protests and lawsuits since it sought to renew its operating license.

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The commission’s chairman voted Thursday to deny the plant the license, but he was expected to be outvoted.

The NRC staff had recommended that commissioners vote to renew Pilgrim’s license. In an eight-page document, the staff said the 40-year-old plant has “taken, or will take, appropriate actions to manage the effects of aging during the period of extended operation.”

“The NRC’s decision was the result of an extensive review of our license renewal application that exceeded six years. We believe the commission made the right decision, based on a thorough safety and environmental review,” said Entergy spokesman Michael J. Burns.

The NRC has never rejected a license renewal application of a nuclear plant. It has previously renewed the licenses of 72 of the nation’s 104 commercial nuclear reactors, a spokesman said.

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