The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will review a petition alleging that Entergy can no longer meet the NRC's financial standards for operating Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, and two other nuclear power plants in the Northeast.
The petitioners, Duxbury-based Pilgrim Watch, Citizens Awareness Network, Alliance for a Green Economy, and Vermont Citizens Awareness Network, were denied their request for an immediate shutdown of two of the reactors, but the NRC is allowing their petition to move to the next step in the review process.
The review is being called "an initial victory for residents seeking to shut down the reactors out of concern over a rising number of age-related equipment failures," by the four petitioners, in a press release.
"Entergy's economic strain compromises safe operation of its reactors, forcing the company to delay maintaining and replacing equipment and putting pressure on plant staff to avoid shutting down the plants for repairs. In a sign of its financial distress, Entergy has announced layoffs throughout its nuclear fleet in recent days, another symptom of economic trouble that could harm reactor safety."
The petitioners also point out a report issued by Swiss financial service company UBS Securities in January, which offered a negative outlook on Entergy's future cash flow from operating nuclear power plants:
"UBS further predicts that Entergy's precarious financial position could lead to the closure of one or both of the reactors to improve its financial stability. UBS additionally reported that Pilgrim may also be unable to compete in the market and may close."