NRC Allows Pilgrim to Defer Additional Upgrades Before Closing in 2019

PLYMOUTH – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will allow the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth to avoid making additional upgrades before the facility closes in 2019.

In a ruling issued Monday, the NRC said the plant would not have to make changes to a vent system that is used to avoid an overpressure condition involving the reactor.

The Hardened Containment Vent System provides a release path of radioactive gases to the environment by which the gases are filtered through a water suppression pool.

The NRC said the vent system is currently in compliance with a post-Fukushima order.

Regulators, however, did require a dedicated vent system power supply capable of operating for 24 hours. As a result, Pilgrim will use the plant’s safety-related batteries, which will have their chargers repowered within eight hours of extended loss of alternating current power by one of the site’s FLEX generators.

The plant will also be required to conduct additional radiation monitoring.

In additional to the ruling on the vent system, the agency also exempted Pilgrim from making additional seismic and flooding upgrades.

A statement from the agency said there would not be enough time to design and approve the plans before the plant closes.

“We have not found that the implementation of changes in this area will result in a meaningful further improvement to the plant’s safety during the period leading up to permanent cessation of operations,” read the statement.

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