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BOSTON – Attorney General Martha Coakley has submitted to Congress her “strong support” of legislation that will prevent nuclear facilities from filing applications for license renewal more than 10 years prior to the expiration of current licenses.
Current regulations permit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to relicense a nuclear power plant with as many as 20 years left on its initial 40-year license. Penned legislation – the Nuclear Reactor Safety First Act – makes changes aiming ensure public safety, while increasing accountability for age-related problems at nuclear facilities, and pushing for increased attention to structural problems at nuclear facilities.
In 1990, the commission granted the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, located 40 miles north of Boston, its initial 40-year operating license. In 2010, with 20 years still remaining on its license, Seabrook filed for a new 20-year renewal license without adequately addressing degradation problems of its concrete structure, Coakley said in a statement.
According to a letter sent by Coakley last week to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the legislation will help avoid this type of situation by ensuring that a nuclear facility cannot file a premature application to avoid reasonable oversight of age-related problems that may arise later in the initial licensing term, and requires the commission to adequately monitor and manage the effects of aging during the term of relicensing. •