Pilgrim protesters hope trial will put focus on safety

Full article by Robert Knox, Globe Correspondent /  February 16, 2013

Eleven anti-nuclear protesters will defend themselves against charges of trespassing at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in a trial next month expected to feature a roster of nuclear experts and political thinkers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Christopher Hedges and renowned physician and scholar Dr. Helen Caldicott.

Judge Kathryn Hand set a trial date of March 18 in Plymouth District Court at last Wednesday’s pretrial hearing at which the defense strategy was disclosed.

The defendants are among 14  protesters arrested at a demonstration at the Plymouth plant last May. According to the defendants, they were with a group of 60 protesters picketing at Pilgrim to show their opposition to the renewal of the plant’s license in view of its age and similarities to the nuclear reactors that failed in Japan.

Pilgrim’s operating license was renewed by federal regulators last year for 20 years.

When the 14 protesters left an area where picketing was permitted to attempt to deliver a letter to Pilgrim officials, they were warned they would be arrested if they didn’t leave. The protesters did not leave the restricted area and were charged with criminal trespass, a charge that carries a potential penalty of a $100 fine and 30 days’ imprisonment.

According to defendant Diane Turco of Cape Downwinders, the letter to Entergy raised “the clear and present dangers at its 40-year-old Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. The Pilgrim reactor is the same make and model as those which failed at Fukushima.”

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