Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Nuclear Waste Dumps

Yesterday a number of worried Cape Cod (Massachusetts) residents had opportunity to air their fears & frustrations in a meeting at Plymouth Town Hall with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials.

Plymouth is home to the infamous Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station, an aging nuclear plant the same type & design as Japan's disabled Fukushima Daiichi that suffered meltdown due to earthquake & tsunami. Pilgrim is also perched at beachside. Their license to operate was due to expire in 2012, and although the Massachusetts Attorney General opposed re-licensing, the State's objections were overturned by the NRC.

Anyhow, two important strategies worth recording were employed in yesterday's meeting:
1) The NRC refused to offer a normal question-and-answer session, instead seeding the room with officials who could answer individual questions. This is great for shy people afraid to speak in front of a crowd. But the negative dimension is that discussions with individuals are mostly unrecorded. Officials brush-off individual questions & complaints with any type of bullshit, avoid accountability, and others with concerns learn nothing of or from the exchange.

2) Plymouth Selectman (town official)  Belinda Brewster raised the key point that Pilgrim is now a de facto nuclear waste site. This perspective is important: nuclear generating stations should be required to admit they are nuclear waste storage facilities. Waste storage is related to power generation, but they are not the same thing. Sites are chosen for the generating business, not as ideal permanent nuclear waste dumps. They've become terribly dangerous.

Pilgrim Power Plant sounds like a whitewash. There are very real dangers from the combined Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station and the Pilgrim Nuclear Waste Storage Site. We know from Fukushima the downside to these plants is death & destruction, evacuation & no return.