Senator Markey Demands Safety, Security, Transparency from Pilgrim Owners, Regulators
Senator Markey and Congressman Keating called on Entergy and Holtec to meet its obligations by submitting an application for ownership transfer that details decommissioning plans; Insist the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ramp up efforts to protect the public during the sale
Washington (October 1, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Congressman Bill Keating (D-Mass.) put the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station’s current and proposed new owners on notice today, demanding clear details about the safety and security issues involved in the ownership, transfer, and eventual decommissioning of the power plant. In the letter to Holtec and Entergy, Senator Markey and Congressman Keating requested that those companies provide in the application, in addition to other information, all detailed plans for assumption of rights to the Pilgrim Nuclear Decommissioning Trust.
In the letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Markey and Keating additionally call on the NRC to closely examine the application to ensure the transfer of the Pilgrim license is in the public interest, including a guarantee that background radiation at the site shall be below federal standards at ten millirams, that emergency planning funds shall continue to be made available to communities within ten miles of the plant, and that there will be sufficient contingency funds for decommissioning. The members asked for the NRC to provide additional hearings in Massachusetts on the operation and decommissioning of Pilgrim.
“The Pilgrim decommissioning must prioritize safety, security, and the concerns of local stakeholders, and take into consideration the potential cost to ratepayers,” write Senator Markey and Congressman Keating. “According to published reports, the current level of the decommissioning trust fund at $1.08 billion may be insufficient to complete safe storage decommissioning (SAFSTOR) over the coming decades. This is troubling. It would be unacceptable to demand additional money from Massachusetts ratepayers, or the American taxpayer, to complete the decommissioning process at Pilgrim.”
Senator Markey and Congressman Keating go on to write, “The NRC should hold hearings in Massachusetts at every stage of this license transfer. The voices of those most affected by the Pilgrim decommissioning must be heard. Only with their continued input can we be assured that the Pilgrim decommissioning will proceed with the highest level of safety and security, and stewardship of taxpayer funds.”
In April, Senator Markey wrote to the NRC asking about the risk of climate change and sea level rise at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. Earlier in the year, Senators Markey, Harris, Sanders, and Gillibrand introduced legislation to improve the safety and security of decommissioning reactors and the storage of spent nuclear fuel at nuclear plants across the nation, and in August of 2018 together expressed concern in a letter to the NRC about the proposed decommissioning rule that would impact nuclear plants around the country, including Pilgrim.