Plymouth Votes to ask NRC to Suspend Relicensing of Pilgrim Reactor
PLYMOUTH, MA — Residents voted Saturday to call upon the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to suspend action on the relicensing of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station until safety improvements are fully implemented.
“We are extremely pleased that the public has recognized the seriousness of the safety aspects of the Pilgrim reactor,” said Theodore Bosen, who represents Freeze Pilgrim, the organization which sponsored the question on the ballot. Our referendum won 59 percent to 41 percent, and it shows that the general public supports holding off on the relicensing until some of these issues are resolved. This is quite a turnabout from as recently as last October, when our town leaders were ready to endorse the continued operation of the plant for another 20 years without reassurance that all new safety measures based on the experience of Fukushima will be in place.”
Plymouth’s vote is particularly significant as it is the home of the 40-year-old Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. The reactor’s owner, Entergy Corporation of Louisiana, has asked the NRC to allow the facility to operate another 20 years. The vote makes Plymouth the ninth town in the area surrounding the Pilgrim reactor to vote to block the relicensing. Voters in Dennis and Harwich will have similar questions on their election ballots next week.
Duxbury, Provincetown, Kingston, Scituate, Marshfield, Truro, Mashpee and Brewster, have already approved non-binding resolutions at their annual town meetings. All the ballot questions and town meeting articles share similar language, which asks the NRC to delay approving Pilgrim’s continued operations until all lessons learned from the failures of similarly designed reactors at Fukushima, Japan are incorporated into its regulations and are fully implemented.
“Regardless of whether or not the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is relicensed, it will continue to pose a significant threat to the safety and health of our area,” said Anna Baker of Marshfield. “The Pilgrim Coalition remains committed in our efforts to educate people about the risks associated with the reactor, and how to raise our voices to our representatives, so that we do not sit back and wait to become the next site of a nuclear catastrophe.”