Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Proposal to Dump Radioactive Waste Into Cape Cod Bay Draws Opposition

Dozens of people were at Plymouth Town Hall for a meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel amid concerns that Holtec International, which purchased the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in 2019, will release 1 million gallons of radioactive waste into Cape Cod Bay

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People on the South Shore of Massachusetts pushed back Monday on any potential plan to dump 1 million gallons of radioactive waste into Cape Cod Bay.

Holtec International, which purchased Plymouth's Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in 2019, intends to complete the plant's decommissioning by 2024.

While Holtec says no final decisions have been made about what it will do with Pilgrim's radioactive waste, many in the area fear it will be released into the bay.

Dozens filled a room at Plymouth Town Hall Monday to make their voices heard at a meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel.

"I think it would have a definite negative effect, and it would impact tourism and retail businesses," said Blake Suddath of Scituate.

"Cape Cod Bay's reputation of clean, safe water is important to hundreds of local businesses and organizations," Sen. Ed Markey said.

Markey, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Bill Keating and Rep. Seth Moulton, penned a letter to Holtec on Jan. 12 to condemn the proposal.

"The strong public opposition to news of the proposed discharge reflects Holtec’s failure to engage in the forthright, open, and transparent process that it promised the Plymouth community and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when it took over the operating license for the decommissioning of Pilgrim," the letter read.

Holtec released the following statement to the NBC10 Boston Investigators earlier in January:

  • "Since the November 22nd Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory meeting there have been questions and concerns around the final disposition of processed water on the site. We have been consistent in our messaging since that meeting that over the next year we will be evaluating the regulatory approved options available and no final decisions have been made. The EPA and NRC have strict regulations regarding the disposition of all effluents from any decommissioning site and Holtec confirms that these requirements will be followed in all states where we conduct operations. We wanted to share that in the near term the decision at Pilgrim has been made that the processed water will remain on site, safely stored, and that we will not discharge any processed water in 2022 while this evaluation is undertaken. We appreciate and understand the public's questions and concerns and remain committed to an open, transparent process on the decommissioning of Pilgrim Station focused on the health and safety of the public, the environment, and on-site personnel."
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