BOSTON (AP) - Federal regulators abused their discretion when they renewed the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station's license for another 20 years, the Massachusetts Attorney General's office said Monday in filing an appeal of the decision.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted 3-1 in May to relicense the Plymouth facility. The plant's original 40-year license expired on June 8.
The state's appeal was filed with the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.
Attorney General Martha Coakley said the NRC failed to consider the implications of Fukushima nuclear plant accident in Japan following last year's earthquake and tsuami. Pilgrim's method of storing spent fuel rods was the same one used by the Japanese plant, the state contends.
"The NRC, over our objections, chose to relicense Pilgrim without fully considering the important safety issues raised in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident," Coakley said in a statement announcing the appeal.
Coakley said the state wants the NRC "to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the plant and the residents of the surrounding communities."
The NRC had no immediate comment on the appeal. Spokesman Neil Sheehan said the agency would review the state's filing.
NRC officials have noted that the 6 1/2 year review period for Pilgrim's relicensing was the longest of any other renewal application in the agency's history and that staff devoted approximately 14,600 hours to the review.
Coakley originally raised concerns about the Japanese facility in December, when she appealed to the NRC a decision by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to deny a request from her office to hold a hearing on the issue.
Other Massachusetts officials, including Gov. Deval Patrick, also criticized the NRC's decision to relicense Pilgrim before resolving all of the state's safety and environmental concerns.