WASHINGTON — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today removed a major stumbling block to licensing the Seabrook, N.H., nuclear power plant for low-power testing.
The commission, on a 4-1 vote, ruled that a new utility-drafted evacuation plan for the six Massachusetts towns that fall within Seabrook's 10-mile emergency zone could be considered in lieu of a state proposal.
Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis has refused to file plans for the northeastern Massachusetts towns, contending that geographic and demographic characteristics of the seacoast area make it impossible to evacuate safely under any conditions. That stance has further stalled the oft-delayed $5.1 billion plant.
The NRC's action to remove a stay, which was imposed in January and upheld by the commission in June, does not mean that Seabrook will automatically receive the license to test the plant at 5% power.