Campaign to Safely Decommission Pilgrim Nuclear

Time is short…

before Massachusetts will finalize it’s position regarding the sale of Pilgrim Nuclear to Holtec. Please endorse the Pilgrim Decommissioning Safety Campaign based on the 9-goal platform and share this request for support of strong protections for the Commonwealth.

 Individuals can endorse, but we’re really looking for organizations (individuals can best support this effort by joining an endorsing organization, or by asking any organization with which they are affiliated to endorse). 

Thanks to Toxics Action Center for their assistance in this effort!

Additional background information:

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Facility went off line permanently on May 31, 2019, and the likelihood of an accident decreases when a reactor is shut down. But even after all spent fuel is in dry casks, serious risk remains until the reactor is fully decommissioned, the site has been thoroughly cleaned-up so that it no longer pollutes Cape Cod Bay and the surrounding communities, and the highly-radioactive spent fuel has left the site.

Two outstanding questions are:

1. How much residual radioactivity and hazardous waste will remain onsite.
2. Will Pilgrim’s owner have enough money to properly do the job in a safe and environmentally responsible manner and also store or in some way contain and/or dispose of way toxic radioactive fuel that may remain.

Recognizing these ongoing challenges to public health, safety, and the environment, public interest and environmental groups across the state are joining together to monitor the decommissioning process and guide federal, state, and local leaders also responsible for oversight.

To keep our communities as safe as possible both during and after decommissioning, it is important that whoever owns Pilgrim meets the goals below.

For more additional information on Pilgrim’s Decommissioning, see Pilgrim Watch’s Decommissioning Slideshow.

Campaign to Successfully Decommission Pilgrim Nuclear

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station has closed, and the decommissioning process has begun. This is an important step, but it is not the end of the story. There is buried hazardous waste at Pilgrim and there have been numerous radioactive leaks. The likelihood of an accident decreases when the reactor shuts down and the fuel is in dry casks; but risk remains at least until all spent fuel leaves the site, the reactor is decommissioned, and the Pilgrim site has been cleaned-up.

To keep our communities safer both during and after decommissioning, it is important that whoever owns Pilgrim meets the goals set forth below. The pending petitions of the Commonwealth and Pilgrim Watch to intervene in Entergy’s request to transfer all of its licenses and liability to Holtec may help. But we all need to do our part.

9 Goals:

1. The spent fuel stored in dry casks should be better protected. Entergy and Holtec have agreed to move the casks away from the oceanfront to higher ground, but the new site is visible from a nearby public road. The casks should be placed inside a reinforced building, or at the very least surrounded by a berm, to reduce line-of-sight attack. A building would also reduce the corrosive effects of salt and moisture. Each cask should have monitors to measure radioactivity, heat and helium.

2. The owner must pay for decommissioning in full, not the Commonwealth’s taxpayers. It is extremely unlikely that the Decommissioning Trust Fund has or will have enough money to pay for decommissioning. The owner should be required to put all spent fuel management costs it recovers from DOE into the Decommissioning Trust Fund, and also to provide a parent company guarantee.

3. Decommissioning should occur ASAP following closure. Holtec plans to complete decommissioning within about 8 years. If the sale to Holtec does not go through, Entergy should not be allowed to defer dismantlement & cleanup for decades.

4. Require a thorough study of the site at the beginning of the decommissioning process to fully understand the extent of contamination and assess the true cost of a proper clean-up.

5. The land must be restored to “greenfield,” suitable for unrestricted use. Remove hazardous contaminants such as solvents, oils, PCB’s, and asbestos to meet state standards. Prohibit “rubblization” of the buildings and burial of it on site.

6. Remove radioactive material so that it meets MDPH’s more conservative radiological cleanup regulation,<10 mrem/yr. and <4 mrem/yr. for drinking water sources. It would result in 60% fewer cancers than the NRC’s standard of 25 mrem/year. The standard will be protective of public health and safety only if the models used to assess dose during remediation are conservative. Dose rates shall be determined using the Resident Farmer Scenario and Basement Inventory Model.

7. Keep offsite emergency planning funded by owner until the spent fuel pool is emptied, then continue owner-funded offsite emergency planning on a reduced level, until all fuel has left the site. Massachusetts Department of Public Health should continue and expand offsite and onsite radiological monitoring

8. Retain the skilled workforce for decommissioning. Provide job training and a compensation package, or placement at another operating reactor.

9. Reinstate NRC inspections and oversight during decommissioning. Currently, the NRC has chosen to exercise little to no meaningful oversight during decommissioning. There are no resident inspectors and no regular inspections. Lack of NRC oversight means licensee compliance with regulations is impossible to verify and enforce on a timely basis. Lack of regular reporting increases the risk of shoddy cleanup and leaves the public in the dark.

Click here to endorse this campaign.

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