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Appeal of Pilgrim Nuclear Plant Renewal is Denied

Attorney General Martha Coakley "considering our options" after federal Appeals Court turns down Massachusetts' appeal of Pilgrim's license renewal process.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said she is reviewing her options after a federal Appeals Court turned down the state’s appeal of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station’s license renewal process, the Associated Press is reporting.

Coakley had argued the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision last year to extend the Plymouth facility’s license for 20 years didn’t sufficiently consider the implications of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant accident in Japan after a major earthquake and tsunami.

Monday, the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals said the NRC had studied and addressed the issues raised by the Fukushima accident in its rules for US nuclear plants, including those which, like Pilgrim, have a similar design.

The court noted the NRC said plants will be required to comply with future standards from the study of Fukushima, and it’s not necessary to delay relicensing those meeting current standards.

In a statement, Coakely said, "Nuclear energy, when done right, can be a valuable part of our energy future. Our goal throughout this process has been to minimize the public safety and environmental risks for the communities surrounding the Pilgrim plant. We are reviewing this decision and considering our options."

Entergy released a statement of its own: "We are pleased with the US Court of Appeals decision. As stated in the court’s ruling, 'The record shows that the NRC gave a hard look to the information Massachusetts presented to it, and it engaged in reasoned decision-making in explaining why it refused to reopen the record and why it denied the contention.'"

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