Account of Pilgrim 14 Trial by defendant Diane Turco

The following is the text of Diane Turco’s closing statement to the Court from March 21, 2014:

On 3.11.11, the world changed forever. The catastrophe at Fukushima woke us up to real life, real world urgency. The devastation in Japan and suffering of the Japanese people can also happen here in Plymouth, Massachusetts. That fact is the lesson learned. Pilgrim Nuclear reactor is the single greatest hazard to our health and safety.

We on the Cape are in the NRC 50 mile Ingestion Pathway Zone. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has reported that we are ʻharmʼs wayʼ and will not be evacuated but will take the radiation hit, then be relocated and, ʻjust like at Fukushimaʼ, we will not be able to return home for a long time. THAT is unacceptable. In the event of an accident, Cape Codders will be told to ʻshelter in placeʼ but that means no shelter if in your car and only 10% protection if in your home. THAT is no protection. There is no escape from the Cape and THAT is unacceptable. Why not remove the threat rather than the people? Cape Codders are, by design, left behind as accepted collateral damage. Joyce Johnson said in her testimony that Entergy is playing ʻRussian Rouletteʼ with our lives.

The testimony we heard this week supports the ongoing serious dangers.

Fire Chief Kevin Nord of Duxbury testified that in the event of accident, there is ʻno reasonable assuranceʼ of public safety in his town. When the question ʻWould citizens be safer if Pilgrim were closed?” was asked, Chief Nord said ʻyesʼ.

Dr. Richard Clapp testified from a published study in 1994 that statistically indicated cancer rates are high near Pilgrim and continue to this day. When the question, ʻWould cancers be reduced if Pilgrim closedʼ, was asked, Dr. Clapp responded ʻyesʼ.

Dr. Gordon Thompson sited that consequences from an accident could exceed Fukushima and would include Cape Cod and Boston. He warned of the serious danger of the spent fuel pool holding four times the amount the structure was designed to temporarily hold.

Mary Lampert testified about the futility of working within the system to effect public safety. Testimony of my beloved community of dedicated citizens expressed the real fear, the feeling of entrapment, and the need to use every avenue to close Pilgrim in our efforts to protect our loved ones and beautiful Cape Cod.

Today, Entergy Nuclearʼs Pilgrim still operates on the shores of Cape Cod Bay. But we are not without hope.

Article 1 of the Massachusetts State Constitution:

All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness

We have the right to seek and obtain our safety and the right to protect our property.

On 5.19.13 Cape Downwinders held a rally with music, speakers, poetry, and public statements. A Japanese woman from Fukushima area sobbed as she shared her sadness and despair due to the devastation and relocation from her home. She is my sister, my neighbor, my friend. I cannot imagine that something like this could happen here, but we have been warned.

So on that May day, we attempted to deliver a letter to Entergy Nuclear Corporation. We know only the NRC or the utility have the power to close the reactor. Our letter called on VP John Dent to close Pilgrim because of the lessons learned from Fukushima and the dangers of Pilgrim. Because Entergy Nuclear representatives refused our letter, we refused to leave and were arrested. We refused to become radiation refugees.

Though we were charged with trespassing, we were not trespassing. We had entered a crime scene.

To be under an acknowledged ongoing threat of a catastrophic nuclear accident event in which we could lose our lives, our property, is a crime of negligence. To ignore our natural and essential right to safety is a crime against humanity. That our elected officials charged with public safety are unable to abate this danger, we the people need to stand up together and demand our rights though every avenue available.

Because of this court case, the community has been alerted: High cancer rates, no assured safety, consequences could exceed Fukushima and ongoing threat to the democratic process. The continued operation of Pilgrim is endangering the health and safety of all living things and needs to be shut now.

Profits must not trump public safety.

In closing, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”… well stated by our dear late friend, Howard Zinn.

On May 19th, we went to Pilgrim to speak truth to power and demand the closure of Pilgrim Nuclear. We could do no less for our families, beloved community, and beautiful Cape Cod. In the best American tradition, we acted on a moral imperative with civic responsibility. We ask that you find us not guilty because this is what democracy looks like.

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