Monday, December 09, 2013

Dirty Pilgrim

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is situated next to Pilgrim Nuclear Waste Dump in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It's just a short walk to the site of the first Thanksgiving.

But the Nuclear Station is felt by many to be highly dangerous, a Fukushima-like threat to the region. It's operated by Entergy, a US$25 billion outfit headquartered in Louisiana. The plant uses an old design, it's been repeatedly closed for safety violations, and its lifetime has only been extended over many objections.

Now the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission NRC has appointed a new resident inspector.

I don't know this new man, Brian Scrabeck, but he used to work for Entergy (he was Senior Reactor Operator in Oswego, NY). He's been with the "regulatory" NRC just eighteen months.

The job assignment was criticized by Cape Downwinders founder Diane Turco, who labeled appointment of Entergy-insider Scrabeck "a clear conflict" (link).

Scrabeck gained the posting when his NRC predecessor, Brian P. Smith, left to rejoin the corporate sector.

Reportedly, the NRC made the decision to replace Smith, but when asked if Pilgrim Nuclear's long string of unplanned forced shutdowns contributed to the move, Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Diane Screnci claimed (link) "Not at all." -- inspectors "routinely move."

(Smith, that last Pilgrim Nuclear resident inspector, vacated his job as an NRC regulator for an industry post with Exelon's Delta, Pennsylvania nuclear plant. Exelon Corp. is a US$42 billion utility services holding company headquartered in Chicago).

As regards new man Scrabeck being back at Entergy, Cape Cod Times reporter Christine Legere asked NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan if it was "somewhat incestuous to have a federal inspector supervise his former employer" -- the NRC said no.