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AG Coakley Backs Shorter Window For Nuke Renewals

BOSTON — Attorney General Martha Coakley is urging Congress to tighten the license renewal period for nuclear power plants.

Coakley is taking aim at current federal rules that allow the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to re-license a plant that has as many as 20 years left on its initial 40-year license. Nuclear power plant regulations are all done at the federal level.

In a letter sent this week to a House committee, Coakley called for passage of a bill that would prevent nuclear plants from seeking re-licensing more than ten years before their current licenses expire.

Coakley points to the safety of these plants including climate change issues and the pace of changing technology.

She says the change would allow the NRC to better evaluate how a facility has been affected by age.

The Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant in New Hampshire applied for renewal in 2010 and has already been re-licensed — with 20 years left on its initial license. She says the application failed to address degradation in its concrete structure.

Coakley says that given the fast past of the change of technology and climate change, that 20 years is too big of a window before a plant’s re-licensing expiration date.

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