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NRC approves transfer of Pilgrim plant to new owner

The Patriot Ledger

Federal regulators have approved the transfer of the license for Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth to a company that plans to decommission the plant on an "accelerated basis," the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Friday morning.

Entergy, which bought Pilgrim from Boston Edison in 1999, is selling the plant to Holtec International. Holtec International will be the owner of the plant and its subsidiary Holtec Decommissioning International will serve as the decommissioning operator, the NRC said.

The NRC said its order approving the license transfer is effective immediately but that the transfer will not actually take place until the sale of the plant is finalized. The transfer includes the dry cask spent fuel storage installation at Pilgrim.

The approval comes as Attorney General Maura Healey and members of the state's Congressional delegation mounted an effort to block the transfer until the NRC held a full hearing on concerns over Holtec's ability to safely decommission the nuclear plant, the company's financial stability and its alleged involvement in a kickback scheme.

"The Commonwealth does not believe that Holtec has met the NRC's financial and technical qualification requirements for license transfer approval," Healey's office wrote to the NRC this week.

"Indeed, the Commonwealth has serious concerns about Holtec's financial and technical capacity to complete the work at Pilgrm. At a minimum, this history requires a heightened degree of scrutiny by the NRC and its Staff."

The NRC did not respond to News Services inquiries Thursday about the status of the Pilgrim license transfer application. In a release Friday morning, the agency said it issued the order on Thursday. It also refuted the attorney general's argument.

"In reviewing the license transfer application, the NRC staff considered the Holtec and HDI technical and financial qualifications, the adequacy of Pilgrim's decommissioning trust funds to complete the radiological decommissioning of the plant, and the adequacy of plans to manage the onsite storage of spent nuclear fuel until it can be removed for storage or disposal elsewhere," NRC said in the release. "The staff concluded that Holtec and HDI met the regulatory, legal, technical and financial requirements necessary to qualify as licensees."


(c)2019 The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

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