Washington (January 12, 2022)– Congressman Bill Keating, who represents Southeastern Massachusetts, including Plymouth and Cape Cod, Senator Edward J. Markey, Chair of the Senate’s Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Congressman Seth Moulton, who represents Massachusetts' north shore including the fishing port of Gloucester, today sent a letter to Holtec Decommissioning International expressing opposition to the proposed discharge of radioactive water from Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station into Cape Cod Bay.


Late last year, the Cape Cod Times first reported on Holtec’s proposed plan to discharge approximately one million gallons of irradiated water from Pilgrim’s spent fuel cooling pool into Cape Cod Bay—a volume nearly three times greater than Pilgrim has released over any prior year.  This news was met with swift opposition across the board – from federal, state, and local elected officials, local industry officials, and residents of the communities surrounding Cape Cod Bay.


In today’s letter, the Massachusetts lawmakers encourage Holtec to consider alternative methods of disposal, specifically referencing the approach used in the decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee Power Plant.  There, the NorthStar Nuclear Decommissioning Company shipped their radioactive water out of state to a proper disposal facility.  Further, the lawmakers stressed the importance of Holtec’s obligation to the communities surrounding Cape Cod Bay and encouraged them to engage with local residents and businesses on the potential impacts of this critical decision.


“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,” wrote the lawmakers. “Holtec’s proposal to discharge approximately one million gallons of radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay would only further burden the community surrounding Pilgrim, which has already borne the negative environmental impacts of the nuclear plant for more than 40 years. Forcing this latest discharge upon the community would threaten the reputations and operations of the many businesses and organizations that rely on Cape Cod Bay’s reputation for clean and safe water.”


A full copy of the letter can be found HERE.


Congressman Keating and Senator Markey have long worked together to ensure that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Holtec prioritizes safety and public participation throughout Pilgrims decommissioning process. In August 2019, they, along with Senator Warren, wrote to the NRC urging it to delay its ruling on the proposed license transfer for Pilgrim from Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. to Holtec until after the Commission considered and ruled on existing petitions and motions. In October 2018, they demanded clear details from Holtec and Entergy about the safety, security, and financial integrity issues involved in the ownership, transfer, and eventual decommissioning of the power plant.