Keeping Our Coasts Clean

In November of 2021, Holtec International, the company responsible for the deconstruction of the defunct Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth Harbor, released a proposal to pour one million gallons of potentially radioactive wastewater into Cape Cod Bay.

The proposal was immediately met with concern from members of the public, as well as state and local officials; specifically raising the lack of sufficient regulatory oversight and opportunities for public input during the decommissioning process.

The potential for pollutants and dangerous materials being discharged in our water resources to impact public health, local industry, and fragile marine ecosystems is alarming. I am working with my colleagues in the Cape Delegation to partner with state and municipal leaders to ensure that the well-being of our coastal communities is put first and foremost.

Moran Organizes Stakeholder Meeting 

December 10, 2021

Following the abrupt release of Holtec's plans, I met with my colleagues in the Plymouth and Cape Legislative delegation, along with our Congressional and U.S. Senate counterparts and state stakehodlers; including the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Public Health.

 

"The Plymouth and Cape delegation are collectively concerned with any environmental impact that compromises our water supply and the safety of residents. This meeting is to discuss next steps and to collectively advocate for our constituents" -  Senator Susan Moran.

Legislation Filed to Address Nuclear Dumping at State Level

January 26, 2022

In an effort to directly deter violations of existing wastewater regulations, I filed S.2791, An Act relative to preventing the discharge of radioactive materials, which would establish fines for the improper disposal of radioactive wastewater ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 per violation, as well as legal liability for public health impacts.

 

A similar bill, H.4444, was filed in partnership with the House by Representatives Josh Cutler (D-6th Plymouth) and Kathleen LaNatra (D-12th Plymouth). Senators Julian Cyr (D-Cape & Islands) and Patrick O’Connor (R-Plymouth & Norfolk) and Representatives Sarah Peake (D-4th Barnstable) and Kip Diggs (D-2nd Barnstable) have signed on as cosponsors, recognizing the regional importance of our waterways.

Follow-up Stakeholder Meeting Outlines Existing Oversight

January 28, 2022

Seeking an opportunity to learn more about the decommissioning process, as well as existing and potential opportunities for action, I once again brought together our state and federal delegation, as well as pertinent state regulatory bodies. 

The recent report of Holtec's non-compliance with state water quality standards and monitoring drew the question of "who is responsible for making sure these companies do what they are supposed to be doing?" 

Plymouth Board of Health Enacts Resolution Opposing "Release of Low-Level Radioactive Water" from Pilgrim Reactor:

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Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen Advisory

Panel Hosts Meeting on Pilgrim Facility:

January 31, 2022

“The Commonwealth has a lengthy history of stepping in to avoid unnecessary risks to the health and safety of its residents and I am grateful that my colleagues and I on the local, state and federal level will continue to do so ... As my constituents are making clear, our coastal resources are too precious to waste on dumping radioactive material that could be discharged elsewhere. I look forward to ensuring the voices of my community are not lost in this process."

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Lawmakers Vow to Keep Radioactive Water Out of Cape Cod Bay - Cape Cod Times

January 31, 2022

Senator Testifies in front of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary on S.2791

April 12, 2022

"Despite the strong, nearly universal, opposition, Holtec has given no guarantee that they will not discharge radioactive waste into Cape Cod Bay. There is also ambiguity that the state has the authority to regulate the discharge of this water." -  Senator Susan Moran.

Senator Testifies in front of the Federal Subcommittee Committee on Nuclear Safety

May 6, 2022

Senator Edward J. Markey and Congressman Bill Keating, chairs of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate and Nuclear Safety, hosted a subcommittee field hearing as part of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) public outreach campaign to gather input on a proposal to amend its regulations relating to the dismantling of nuclear production and utilization facilities.

The Senator was honored to participate as a panelist alongside Attorney Seth Schofield of the Office of Attorney General Maura Healey, as well as Geoffrey Fettus of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Moran, leading the Plymouth and Cape delegation, related constituents’ concerns with potential impacts from the station’s decommissioning that would compromise the region’s water supply and the safety of residents. The panel expressed doubts regarding Holtec’s openness, clarity, and reliability, and asked that the NRC prioritize the input of local stakeholders in any changes made to their regulations. Fettus faulted the NRC for enabling this lack of transparency, asserting that the entire proposal should be redrawn and redrafted in stronger terms.

The hearing was livestreamed on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) webpage, found here: Issues Facing Communities with Decommissioning Nuclear Plants - Hearings - U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Hosts Public Comment Meeting in Plymouth

May 9, 2022

Following the Environmental & Public Works subcommittee hearing, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission - NRC held a public comment meeting in Plymouth to facilitate input from neighbors on the proposed reforms to the regulatory process of nuclear power decommissioning across the nation (https://www.nrc.gov/.../reg-improv-trans-to-decom.html).

The previous week's hearing highlighted the glaring lack of oversight from NRC of the companies who dismantle these properties. The Senator reaffirmed that the the Commission is accountable to the residents of those communities, those most affected by the decommissioning process; and it is ultimately their responsibility to ensure that environmental and public health benchmarks are being met throughout the process, and that the concerns of local stakeholders are being addressed in prompt fashion.

Holtec commits to not discharging Pilgrim plant water until third-party testing gives OK - Old Colony Memorial

May 11, 2022

As a follow up to the congressional subcommittee field hearing, Holtec President and CEO Kris Singh submitted a letter to Senator Markey officially committing the company to not discharging wastewater into Cape Cod Bay until an independent third party confirmed the water met relevant public health and environmental standards and posed no threat to the general public. 

“We will delay the completion of the decommissioning program, if need be, and hold the processed water inside the plant for as long as necessary if the expert scientific opinion advises against discharging the remaining plant water into the bay." - Kris Singh, President and CEO of Holtec International

Senator Moran Sits Down with Local Cable Access to Discuss Progress

May 18, 2022

Plymouth Port is a hub for commerce and recreation, and there are concerns that impacts from the improper deconstruction of the plant would disrupt the already unstable recovery of local industry from COVID-19 and reverberate throughout the South Shore.

 

I had the pleasure of having Plymouth Harbormaster, Chad Hunter and Robert Ward of Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association to listen to their perspectives as "on-the-water" experts on my Plymouth Area Cable TV show "In Your Corner with Senator Moran."

Economic Development Package Includes Language to Study Impacts of Wastewater

December 10, 2022

As part of  Senate's proposed economic development bill, I was so encouraged to be able to secure language that would establish a special commission to study the impacts of improperly "dumped" nuclear waste into our waterways.
 

The potential for pollutants and dangerous materials being discharged in our water resources to impact public health, local industry, and fragile marine ecosystems is alarming, and the public deserves to know the full-range of risk factors. This was a big victory for clean water advocates, not only for the residents of Plymouth Harbor and Cape Cod Bay who are demanding accountability from Holtec International, but for everyone who recreates and does business in these waters.

The House having passed their own version of the economic development package, the bill moves to a conference committee where members of both the House and Senate will confer on differences.

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Senator Moran Urges Stronger Oversight of Holtec and Other Nuclear Facilities at Public Hearing

July 27, 2022