BOSTON — Citing the lack of a “viable evacuation plan,” Gov. Deval Patrick has asked the nation’s top nuclear regulator to order the decommissioning of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station if it does not comply with “all health, safety and environmental regulations.”
Patrick’s letter to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane, dated March 17 and obtained by the State House News Service, fulfills a promise he recently made to protestors from Cape Cod, who filled the hallway outside his office March 10 urging him to call for the plant’s closure.
Joyce McMahon, a spokeswoman for the nuclear plant’s owner, said Patrick’s request “is no more than a request for the NRC to fulfill the role it has at every plant every day. It does not appear that he is calling for anything above and beyond to be done at Pilgrim.”
NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan told the News Service that any violations at Pilgrim “have not risen above very low safety significance in recent years.”
All 15 Cape Cod towns have officially called for the closure of the nuclear plant, and Patrick said he shares their concerns.
“The potential impact of a major event at the plant is disquieting,” wrote Patrick, who opposed the NRC’s 2012 decision to relicense the roughly 40-year-old plant for another 20 years of operation. Patrick wrote, “The unique geographical relationship between Plymouth and the communities comprising Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts could put those residents at serious risk should there be an accident.”