No more open meetings with NRC

PLYMOUTH – Is the NRC still upset about the reception it received when representatives came to town last April, and is the agency harboring a grudge against the Plymouth Board of Selectmen because of it?

Yes, there were “mic checks” and there was jeering and, in general, the anti-nuclear critics who attended April’s joint meeting of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Board of Selectmen were not deferential to the visiting officials.

Was that a surprise?

As that meeting wound down, Matt Muratore, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said he would do “whatever it takes to create some level of comfort in the community.”

“This is a good start tonight,” Muratore also told NRC officials that night. “I know you have to be here by regulation, but we want you to come back because we need you to be here.”

Muratore asked the NRC to return, perhaps on a quarterly basis, to deal openly with Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant issues and develop a closer relationship with the town.

He also asked the NRC officials to help organize a meeting of all 104 “nuclear communities” and, perhaps, a meeting with the president, himself.

Fast forward two months and Muratore was participating in a follow-up conference call with many of the same NRC officials who were here in April for its annual “open house” and a discussion of dry cask storage.

Instead of hearing constructive suggestions about the next steps, however, Muratore was told that more open houses, no matter what the ground rules, are out of the question.“I was taken back by the NRC’s perspective of the April meeting,” Muratore said. “I thought it went fairly well; there was a good venting but it was in a respectful manner.”The NRC did not see it that way.

“They felt that the April meeting was a flogging of the NRC by the Board of Selectmen,” Muratore said, “that we were grandstanding for the press. They kept bringing up the accounts of the meeting in the local press,” Muratore added. “They were very concerned with how the media spun this.”

Muratore said he was so concerned with the NRC’s response during the recent conference call that he asked the Board’s executive assistant, Tiffany Park, to go back over her notes of the meeting.

“Tiffany’s’ terrific minutes, pointed out that there was nothing disrespectful to what they do as an independent federal body; it was about frustration, about process, about not having enough dialogue with Entergy. Again,” Muratore said, “I thought the meeting went well, was received well.”

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