The Mashpee selectmen voted unanimously on Monday, March 16, to include a nonbinding public opinion question calling for better security and spent fuel storage at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth on the Town Meeting warrant.
The article would ask the Mashpee municipal government to communicate to Governor Charles D Baker Jr. and the Legislature that the spent fuel at the power station be better secured in “quality dry casks and hardened, onsite storage” with heightened security measures.
The article, if passed, would state that the citizens of Mashpee find the current security and storage “to be an unacceptable threat to our health and safety.”
Selectman Thomas O’Hara, who is also a member of the Assembly of Delegates in the Barnstable County government, said that the county has asked that Pilgrim attend a meeting of the assembly but has heard no response.
About eight weeks ago, Mr. O’Hara said, “We somewhat demanded that they attend our meeting and bring us up to date on what has happened and they just never responded.”
Selectmen chairman Andrew R. Gottlieb said that the plan years ago was to ship the spent fuel to a proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository. The depository, located in Nevada, has not come to fruition, meaning the spent fuel has been kept at Pilgrim.
Without the Yucca facility, Mr. Gottlieb said, “There isn’t any place for the spent fuel rods to go.”
The article references a 1986 disaster at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine.
“The high level nuclear waste will remain at Pilgrim for decades or more in dry casks that present safety concerns, each holding half the radioactive cesium released at Chernobyl,” the article says.
Town Meeting remains scheduled for Monday, May 4, at present.
Update: A representative from Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station provided clarification as to their communications with Barnstable County government.
Pilgrim Nuclear communication manager, Patrick O'Brien, said Pilgrim had committed to attending a meeting of the assembly of delegates scheduled for November 20, 2019.
Mr. O'Brien provided an email from the assembly clerk, Janice O'Connell, which indicates the meeting with Pilgrim was postponed due to an ongoing legal concern and potential litigation filed by the Massachusetts attorney general and assembly speaker.