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NRC Lifts Key License Delay for A-Plant

November 25, 1987|Associated Press

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.

3 Other Issues Pending

Seabrook proponents and critics say the commission will wait until the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board rules on three pending issues unrelated to the evacuation plan.

Both sides agree that it will take at least several months before a low-power license is issued, and Massachusetts Atty. Gen. James Shannon has vowed to block that move in federal court.

The commission originally imposed the stay because there was no evacuation plan for the Massachusetts towns.

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