Pilgrim nuclear plant wants to cut training funds
Local officials say Entergy Corp. is trying to alter agreements
PLYMOUTH — Four times a year, the Taunton Emergency Management Agency trains about 200 volunteers how to handle people fleeing a potential disaster at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth. Volunteers learn how to run equipment to check people for radioactive contamination, direct them to showers, dispose of their clothing, get them into white paper suits and give them potassium iodide – scenes being played out for real every day with the failure of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in Japan.
The cost of each training session can run up to $5,000, which includes the $15 hourly rate for volunteers and the overtime earned by police officers, said Rick Ferreira, director of the Taunton agency.
Until now, the bill has been footed by Entergy Corp., Pilgrim’s parent company, with payments directly to the volunteers.
But the three communities that would act as “reception centers” for people fleeing a disaster in Plymouth – Taunton, Bridgewater and Braintree – complain that Entergy wants to reduce the amounts they receive under their contracts and have them use those same funds to pay for volunteer training.
“This isn’t an issue that just came up,” Ferreira said last week. “This has been going on in discussions for a year now. They are telling us they’re going to cut our money back, and we’re going to have to pay for the training out of it as well.”Keep reading