The Massachusetts Congressional Delegation has added its voice to those calling on federal regulators to reject a request from the owner of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to extend a deadline on critical safety vent upgrades mandated in response to the 2011 Fukushima disaster, according to the Cape Cod Times.
The NRC last year approved a similar request from the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey , according to an e-mail from NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan. Oyster Creek is scheduled to cease permanent operations in December 2019. The agency approved Oyster Creek’s request to not have to install a reliable hardened vent from the plant’s torus, the doughnut-shaped reservoir of water at its base. However, the NRC has not ruled on the portion of the order dealing with a vent from the enclosed area around the reactor, Sheehan wrote.
Pilgrim is seeking an extension for both parts of the order. On the second part of the order Pilgrim states it does not apply because of the timing of its final refueling outage.
The purpose of the vent is to remove combustible gases from the reactor building after a severe accident to prevent the kinds of explosions seen at Fukushima. Pilgrim, like Oyster Creek, states it has developed plans that would allow it to cope with a severe accident in the absence of compliance with the order.