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Appeal of Plymouth nuclear plant renewal is denied

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.

Coakley had said 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.

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The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday 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.”

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