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Articles by Bruce Hamilton

Bruce Hamilton is a freelance reporter who writes on natural resource and environmental issues. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

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Watchdogs say the Nuclear Regulatory Commission compromised public safety with its decision late last month to grant long-term renewal of the operating licenses for the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in southern Maryland.

Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant.

Photo: Dan Hamilton.

With the decision, the plant, tucked on a rural peninsula along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay, became the first of the nation’s 103 commercial nuclear reactors to win a 20-year extension of its operating licenses. Environmentalists fear the NRC’s move could portend a new wave of nuclear plant license extensions around the country, giving the nuclear industry a big boost at a time when many think it should be going the way of the dinosaur. At least 27 more nuclear plants are likely to seek similar extensions by 2003.

Though Calvert Cliffs’ previous licenses for its two reactors extended through 2014 and 2016, the plant’s owner, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), requested the early renewal so it could make long-term plans in the face of approaching utility deregulation. The extension will allow the reactors t... Read more