A troop of local residents, led by Meg Sheehan and Jim and Mary Lampert, took to the microphone last night at the Plymouth Board of Selectmen meeting to voice their concerns about Entergy’s waste storage project and to offer the Board suggestions on how they could use their local power to ensure the project is designed and built in the best way possible for the town – in terms of health, environment and economy.
This came one week after Entergy representatives presented its dry cask storage plans to the Board.
Meg Sheehan, a local attorney and member of the Pilgrim Coalition, outlined how, in her opinion, the town has some authority over the project under local zoning laws and if local ordinances were passed. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission only has power over radiological issues – not issues such as land use, licensing, etc.
Meg suggested that the town could pass five local ordinances to ensure the project meets certain conditions that are of concern to residents and experts alike. For instance, the town could potentially expedite the transfer of spent fuel assemblies to dry casks by allowing only fuel that is five years old or less to be stored in Pilgrim’s wet pool (the minimum amount of time spent fuel needs to cool in the pool is 5 years before it’s able to be safely transferred to dry casks). As it stands now, Entergy will only move enough waste out of the spent fuel pool every two years to allow it to continue operating, leaving the pool extremely overcrowded. The Town could also possibly impose a fee on the storage of nuclear waste storage, generating revenue for the town.
Other suggested conditions included allowing only Pilgrim’s waste to be stored on-site, requiring Entergy to fund an independent consultant to look into siting concerns – specifically related to sea level rise and flooding, and requiring real-time monitoring of radiation and temperature emissions at the casks.
Under local laws, the Town can and should impose conditions such as those mentioned above on Entergy’s dry cask project. Dry casks are the best and only option for a bad situation the town of Plymouth has been dealt. However, the project could be done better and safer for those of us living in the shadow of Pilgrim today and for those that will have to deal with it hundreds, or even thousands of years down the road.
The Board said it would consider the suggestions and discuss with town council.