The New England power company Northeast Utilities has been granted leave to restart its Millstone 2 nuclear power plant after a US judge ruled against an injunction sought by Fish Unlimited, an environmental group which hoped to prevent the plant restarting until 15 June in order to protect spawning Flounder.

The move will allow the 880 MWe unit, which has been shut since 1996 for safety upgrades, to resume operating. Lawyers for Northeast Utilities argued that keeping Millstone 2 offline was costing the company $20 million each day. The plant was on hot standby for two weeks preceding the judge’s decision. The company expected to restart the unit immediately and reach 100 per cent capacity one month from the date of the restart.

There are three nuclear units at the Millstone site. The 660 MWe Millstone I has been shut down permanently. Millstone 3, rated at 1150 MWe, was also shut down for safety reasons but restarted last July.