NRC boss: Pilgrim headed for trouble
PLYMOUTH — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s top official toured the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station on Friday and later told reporters the 41-year-old plant, plagued by mechanical problems, is headed for trouble with federal regulators unless it improves its performance.
When asked whether the NRC would ever close Pilgrim, Allison Macfarlane said the agency has the authority to shutter any plant for as long as it takes for the operation to turn around and run safely.
“We did that with Fort Calhoun in Nebraska, and it’s been closed for two years,” the commission chairman said. “Pilgrim is not in the worst shape yet, but it’s headed that way, and we want to make sure they don’t get there.”
Macfarlane’s visit was routine, but it came at the end of a tough week for Pilgrim.
On Monday, the NRC announced a performance rating drop for the Plymouth plant based on shutdowns with complications over the last several months. The downgrade placed Pilgrim among 22 reactors nationwide that will be more closely watched by federal regulators. Currently it leads the nation’s 100 reactors in shutdowns this year.
Entergy Corp., Pilgrim’s owner-operator, was informed by the NRC on Wednesday that the plant’s standing is expected to fall even further at the close of the year’s fourth quarter, based on its high number of unplanned shutdowns in general.
That further downgrade will place the Plymouth plant among the nation’s eight worst performers.Keep reading