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After activists on Thursday rallied for the immediate shutdown of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Gov. Charlie Baker said he wants to balance the safety of the impending decommissioning of the plant with the region's power needs. The Entergy Corp.-owned plant, which last week announced plans to be decommissioned by June 1, 2019, generates enough electricity to power more than 600,000 homes. "For me the safety issue is fundamental, but we all need to remember that it's 700 megawatts of power that's there every single day. That's part of our baseload when we turn on the lights or turn on our heaters," Baker told reporters. He said, "We also need to make sure we don't end up doing something that translates into rolling brownouts or, God forbid, blackouts here in the New England region." Anti-Pilgrim activists, who had called for the decommissioning of the more than 40-year-old plant, greeted the recent news with concern that upkeep would lag in the future. In a statement, Entergy said, "Our focus is on operating the plant safely and reliably up to our planned shutdown, expected no later than June 1, 2019, and then continuing with all safety protocols through ultimate decommissioning." The Baker administration backs importing new hydroelectricity from Canada, continuing to encourage the state's solar industry and increasing the region's natural gas capacity. "Right now is the planning time to make sure we get this right," Baker said Thursday. He noted the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission and grid-operator ISO New England will have jurisdiction over the decommissioning of the power plant that sits on the Plymouth shoreline. - Andy Metzger/SHNS

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