For Immediate Release - June 18, 2012

AG Coakley Appeals Decision by Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Relicense Plymouth Nuclear Power Plant for 20 Years

BOSTON – Saying that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) acted “arbitrarily” and “abused its discretion” when it relicensed the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth for 20 years, Attorney General Martha Coakley appealed the decision today.

“The NRC, over our objections, chose to re-license Pilgrim without fully considering the important safety issues raised in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident,” AG Coakley said. “We are appealing that decision today to require the NRC to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the plant and the residents of the surrounding communities.”

In December 2011, AG Coakley first appealed to the NRC the decision by the Pilgrim Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) to deny the AG’s Office a hearing to consider the implications of the Fukushima Daichii nuclear disaster for the Pilgrim relicensing proceedings. In March 2012, the Commission affirmed the ASLB decision and in April the AG’s Office appealed the decision to deny a hearing to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

In May 2012, the NRC granted the twenty year license extension for the Pilgrim plant. The second appeal by the AG’s Office, filed today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, challenges the NRC's decision to grant the extension without first considering the lessons learned from the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi and their relevance for the Pilgrim plant – a plant of similar design to those that failed in Japan. The NRC also refused, before relicensing, to consider additional mitigation measures raised by the AG's expert to reduce these risks.   

The second appeal asserts that the NRC's refusal to consider these important public safety and environmental issues violates federal law and the NRC's own regulations to consider new and significant information relevant to the operation of a nuclear plant. 

The appeal was filed in support of the original appeal filed in April and the AG is requesting to consolidate both appeals on the hearing denial and the licensing decision in a single proceeding for further review. 

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Brock, in Attorney General Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division.

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