Judge lifts restraining order on nuclear plant restart

A Connecticut judge has lifted a temporary restraining order and denied requests from an environmental group for both a temporary and permanent injunction that would have prevented Northeast Utilities from restarting its Millstone Unit 2 power plant.

Connecticut Superior Court Judge Robert Hale ruled against Fish Unlimited who had sued Northeast Utilities regarding Millstone’s alleged effect on the winter flounder population in Long Island Sound. The group claimed that restarting the plant would harm fish stocks in Long Island Sound, the body of water between Connecticut and Long Island, N.Y., into which the reactor releases its cooling water.

The 880 megawatt unit has been shut since 1996 for safety upgrades. Millstone has now received Nuclear Regulatory Commission authorization to restart Unit 2. Northeast Nuclear Energy Company (NNECO) is making final preparations to begin a conservative power ascension program to restart the unit.

Millstone Chief Nuclear Officer Lee Olivier called the court decision “the end of an era at Millstone.” He said: “We have demonstrated to our regulators and the public that we have created a new Millstone – with completely upgraded plants and procedures, and a strong safety conscious work environment.”

Millstone management is finalizing the power ascension schedule leading to the start up of the nuclear reactor. Operations personnel are allowing approximately one month for the plant to reach full power.

Olivier stressed that the start up will not be schedule-driven. “We will take the time to restart Unit 2 in a safe and careful manner,” Olivier emphasized. “We will be applying the lessons we learned from the recent successful start-up of Unit 3, and we will not hesitate to make conservative decisions throughout the restart process,” he concluded.

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