Another AG worried about nuclear risks

Nick Rees Mar. 22, 2011, 2:12pm


BOSTON (Leagl Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and state Senate President Therese Murray have called for U.S. regulators to turn a critical eye on the Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee nuclear reactors in light of the potential meltdown in Japan.

The Vermont Yankee power plant is located in Vernon, Vt., while the Pilgrim plant is located in Plymouth, Mass.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday, Coakley and Murray requested that the use of wet pools at the two facilities for storing spent fuel rods be reexamined, reports.

Coakley's letter asserts that the NRC has continuously rejected the belief that the wet pools are an environmental risk but have not shown studies that support that contention. As a result, the letter calls for additional "dry cask storage" at the two plants, the report says, and an expedited process to develop a national waste storage solution.

"Nuclear power can and should play an important part of meeting our future energy needs. However, the federal government should ensure that these plants are safe and that their decisions are transparent," Coakley's and Murray's letter states, according to the report says. "We are urging you to re-evaluate these issues in light off the events in Japan."

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has also called for safety checks at a power plant this week, calling on the federal government to assess safety risks at the Indian Point Power Plant in Buchanan, N.Y.

Schneiderman's office referenced a report by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission that revealed some U.S. power plants are more vulnerable to seismic risks than was previously believed.

"It is beyond troubling that at the same time the federal government acknowledges increased seismic safety risk at some nuclear power plants in this country, it refuses to fully and openly assess these specific risks to Indian Point as part of its relicensing process," Schneiderman said in a statement.

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