Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff members gave the commission inaccurate information in declaring that residents near the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Mass., could be protected in an emergency, an investigator reported yesterday.
In a scathing 15-page report, the commission's inspector general concluded that the commission's staff said Pilgrim was safe to operate without looking in detail at evacuation plans. The report accused staffers of relying on unconfirmed information provided by the plant owner, Boston Edison Co.
It said the commission's rush to approve the reopening of the plant in December 1988 after a three-year shutdown was a key motive behind the sloppy staff work.
The report by Inspector General David C. Williams comes more than a year after the commission allowed the formerly troubled plant to restart. Williams said staffers were "inaccurate" and provided information to the commission which was "neither balanced nor thorough."
"The staff conducted little firsthand review of off-site emergency preparedness at the local level and had minimal contact with local officials who had the primary responsibility for developing off-site emergency plans and procedures," he wrote.
The staff disputed Williams's findings in a written response, arguing that it met frequently with local officials on emergency plans prior to two crucial commission meetings in October and December 1988.
In a response, Williams wrote that there were 31 meetings with local officials, but, "They did not involve a meaningful dialogue with local emergency planning officials."