Today, Massachusetts Congressmen Edward J. Markey (D-Malden), dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, and William Keating (D-Bourne) sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) expressing concerns about the current emergency response capability at the Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station in light of the labor dispute that saw nearly 250 union workers escorted offsite on June 5 following the expiration of their contract. To fill these staffing gaps, Entergy has individuals from Pilgrim's management team, as well as other managers from its nuclear fleet, filling the necessary positions.
"While Entergy management may understand the theoretical manner in which a nuclear power plant operates, theory is rarely a substitute for the sort of practical, hands-on experience the locked-out workers possess," write Reps. Markey and Keating in the letter. "Even if these managers had past experience in nuclear power plant operations, they are still less likely to be prepared to respond to an emergency in as skilled and as rapid a manner as those who, until the recent lock-out, had worked at the facility day in and day out."
The NRC recently relicensed the Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station for another 20 years despite unresolved environmental and nuclear safety issues and outstanding judicial and administrative reviews. Reps. Markey and Keating wrote to the NRC last month opposing moving forward with the relicensing decision until resolution of these issues.