Earthrise deals blow to nuclear power plant in Massachusetts

AUGUST 22, 2014. This article is from Earthrise Law Center. Read the original article here.

Earthrise is assisting a group of Massachusetts’s citizens and public interest lawyers, including Earthrise alum Genevieve Byrne and Earthrise Advisory Council member Meg Sheehan, in challenging a decision by the Plymouth, Massachusetts Zoning Board. The decision would allow the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to construct and operate a long-term storage facility for spent nuclear fuel without a special permit that would ensure the public’s ability to participate in the process, as well as incorporate conditions to protect the environment. On August 14, 2014, the group scored a major victory when the Massachusetts Land Court rejected Entergy Corporation’s (Pilgrim’s owner) attempts to dismiss the case for lack of standing. The court found that certain citizen plaintiffs residing within two miles of the plant had standing based on the diminution of their property values that will result from the construction of the storage facility and continued operation of the plant. Earthrise Advisory Council member Meg Sheehan argued the case for the Plaintiffs. As a result of the court’s ruling, the case can proceed to the merits.

The Pilgrim Nuclear Plant sits on the shores of Cape Cod Bay in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In early 2013, Entergy began construction of a $140 million concrete pad and dry cask long-term storage unit for its spent nuclear fuel. Because the Town of Plymouth did not require a special zoning permit, the massive project—that will result in the indefinite storage of nuclear waste within a few hundred feet of the shoreline—has received little public scrutiny and no evaluation of the risk for adverse, and potentially catastrophic, environmental effects. The plaintiffs seek a remand of the case to the Plymouth Zoning Board to require a special permit with attendant environmental design conditions and mitigation to ensure that, if nuclear waste is going to be stored so close to such an environmentally important area as Cape Cod Bay, it is done in the safest and most environmentally protective way possible. A copy of the court’s order denying Entergy’s summary judgment on standing can be found here.

CNP presentation to Plymouth Board of Selectmen 1/21/14

Concerned Neighbors of Pilgrim will be presenting information regarding the two warrant articles we hope to get passed at the town meeting this spring. The meeting is held in the Mayflower Room of the Plymouth Town Hall and begins at 7 pm; however, CNP will be presenting around 8:30. Please come and support our efforts!

CNP to Present Proposed Warrant Articles to the Town Finance and Advisory Committee

Two non-binding articles were recently submitted to Plymouth Town Hall, to be voted on at spring town meeting. CNP will be presenting the articles to the Plymouth Finance and Advisory Committee on January 22nd. We hope that they will be approved and that they will be passed at the town meeting this spring. Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of these articles. See below for the language of the two articles:

ARTICLE 1

To see if the town will vote to….limit storage of nuclear waste within the municipal boundaries to only that nuclear waste generated at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, the storage of which complies with applicable Town by-laws.  This Article is consistent with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rules in 10 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 72.212 which say that the NRC general license allowing Entergy Nuclear Generation Company to possess spent fuel at the site of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is limited to such fuel generated at Pilgrim.

This Article is intended to promote the most appropriate use of land throughout the Town in accordance with the comprehensive plan, to preserve and increase the Town’s amenities, including its unique visual quality and historic character, its recreational, aesthetic, ecological, and natural resource qualities, and its water quality and quantity, and to conserve the value of land and buildings.

ARTICLE 2

To see if the Town will vote to…..urge all town officials to use their best efforts to ensure that nuclear waste is removed from wet pool storage at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to dry cask storage as soon as technologically possible.

This Article is intended to promote the most appropriate use of land throughout the Town in accordance with the comprehensive plan, to preserve and increase the Town’s amenities, including its unique visual quality and historic character, its recreational, aesthetic, ecological, and natural resource qualities, and its water quality and quantity, and to conserve the value of land and buildings.

October 15, 2013 dry cask presentation to the Plymouth Board of Selectmen

A clear message was sent last week during the dry cask storage presentation to the Plymouth Board of Selectmen: there ARE additional measures which can increase the safety of the dry cask storage facility, all spent fuel older than five years should be transferred from the spent fuel pool to dry casks, the town should be compensated for storing spent fuel, and Plymouth WILL NOT accept spent fuel from any other source except Pilgrim.

Now that the Plymouth Board of Selectmen have been provided with concrete suggestions to improve the safety of the dry cask storage facility and protect the town we hope they will be empowered to advocate for Plymouth.

http://www.wickedlocal.com/plymouth/news/x348800473/PILGRIM-NUCLEAR-POWER-STATION-Pilgrim-critics-urge-Plymouth-to-improve-Pilgrim-safety

Presentations from the Oct 1st Nuclear Waste Forum

Here are the presentations from Tuesday night’s community forum on Entergy’s nuclear waste storage project. If you missed this one, stay tuned for additional forums being planned in the near future. 

Oct 1: Forum on Nuclear Waste Storage Project at Pilgrim

Community Forum: UPDATE on Entergy’s “Dry Cask” Nuclear Waste Project at Pilgrim. Hosted by the Concerned Neighbors of Pilgrim and Sierra Club.

DATE: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
TIME: 7:30-9:00 pm
LOCATION: Cedarville Community Room, 2209 State Road (Route 3A), Cedarville Fire Station, lower level

Come learn about the latest updates on Entergy’s nuclear waste project in Manomet. Find out how you can help protect our community and the environment! The forum is free and open to the public.

AGENDA:

~Why Entergy needs a nuclear waste storage facility in Plymouth -Meg Sheehan, EcoLaw

~Risks of nuclear waste storage: Wet pool versus dry cask -Mary Lampert, Pilgrim Watch

~Concerns about project location: climate change impacts, sea level rise, flood risk -Pine duBois, Jones River Watershed Association and Cape Cod Bay Watch

~How to make it happen -Attorney James Lampert

For more information on the forum call 508-746-9400 or email contact@concernedneighborsofpilgrim.org

The Union of Concerned Scientists Explore Spent Reactor Fuel Security

The Union of Concerned Scientists explore security concerns related to the storage of spent fuel. The article explains why spent fuel pools could be a potential target for a terrorist attack. It also details the benefits of dry cask storage and offers practical suggestions for reducing vulnerability of these storage facilities.

http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_risk/sabotage_and_attacks_on_reactors/spent-reactor-fuel-security.html

Get the Facts on High-Level Atomic Waste Storage Casks!

Recently came across this Fact Sheet from NIRS (Nuclear Information and Resource Service) about Dry Casks. Very interesting read. Most of it is directly applicable to the dry cask storage project planned for Pilgrim. It outlines some of the history behind why casks were developed, what the concerns are, problems with the permitting process,  etc. It’s from 2004 (before Yucca Mountain was cancelled) but still relevant.