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November 15, 2021

Three-month inspection of Pilgrim nuclear plant finds no major violations

File photo Pilgrim Nuclear Station in Plymouth shut down for good in 2019.

A federal inspection of the decommissioned Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth that began in July and stretched through September found "no violations of more than minor significance," the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

The inspection included "an evaluation of the safety screening, safety review, onsite management review, engineering change processes, the fire protection program, maintenance program, and the available results for site radiological and non-radiological characterization," the NRC said. The agency also conducted "a review and observation of the independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) dry cask activities."

Inspectors visited Pilgrim at least five times during the announced quarterly inspection to observe Holtec Decommissioning International's activities "as they relate to safety and compliance with the Commission's rules and regulations" and the conditions of the company's license.

"Based on the results of this inspection, no violations of more than minor significance were identified," the NRC wrote in the inspection report.

The Plymouth nuclear plant, which employed about 600 people and had been generating about 680 megawatts of electricity per year since coming online in 1972, permanently ceased operations May 31, 2019. Holtec has estimated that it can complete decommissioning work by the end of 2027 and is in the process of removing all spent nuclear fuel from the plant's spent fuel pool and placing it on a newly constructed Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation by early 2022.

Last year, Attorney General Maura Healey and the Baker administration struck a deal with Holtec to require the company to maintain a decommissioning trust fund at a minimum balance, which helped alleviate concerns that the company did not have the financial stability to safely decommission the nuclear facility.

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