Wednesday, October 31, 2007

DEP Taking a New Look at Millstone's Permit

The Connecticut DEP is changing course on a new permit for the cooling system at the Millstone nuclear power plant, in Waterford. Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that nuclear power plants need to do a better job protecting fish, which get destroyed when they are sucked into cooling systems (some background here). The DEP had already been in the process of rewriting Millstone’s permit but decided recently that it needed to revise the revision.

Here’s what The Day reported:

This spring, before the DEP could hold a public hearing on its proposed permit, a federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators need to take into account the “best technology available” when issuing permits. Such equipment could include costly cooling towers that would re-circulate water and kill fewer fish and fish larvae.

In the federal court case, Riverkeeper II v. EPA, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals also determined that using a cost/benefit analysis to determine what constitutes the best technology available is not in keeping with the tenets of the Clean Water Act. A number of environmental groups and states, including Connecticut, were parties to the Riverkeeper case.

Schain said it's likely the revised permit will require Millstone owner Dominion to look at all available technologies in addressing the nuclear reactor operations' impact on aquatic life. The old Millstone permit is still in effect while the new process moves forward, he said.



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