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Bill to Ban Dumping Radioactive Material Receives Public Hearing



Ben Kaplan, Communications Director Office of Senator Susan L. Moran

Bill to Ban Dumping Radioactive Material Receives Public Hearing Aims to prevent disposal of radioactive waste in the Cape Cod Bay through elevated penalties.

(BOSTON – 4/12/2022) On Tuesday, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary hosted a virtual public hearing on S.2791, an Act Relative to Preventing the Discharge of Radioactive Materials, filed by State Senator Susan L. Moran.

The legislation bans disposal of radioactive material directly or indirectly into coastal or inland waters, tide water, or land owned by another entity and proposes heavy fines ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 per offense and liability for all damages to the Commonwealth or any person or entity damaged.

The bill comes as a response to a proposal by Holtec International, the company responsible for decommissioning the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to dump radioactive discharge into Cape Cod Bay made last November after agreeing to a two-year moratorium. The disposal of such discharge into the Bay would pose significant public health risks and impact the viability of the local shellfish industry, particularly in the Southeast and Cape Cod, as well as potentially deteriorate the region’s coastal ecosystems and compound the already present impacts of climate change.

“Holtec’s plan would introduce dangerous pollutants into the Commonwealth’s coasts. We must be sure that the national business of nuclear plant closures does not overshadow the foundation of our local economies, coastal resilience, and the health of current and future generations in Southeastern Mass and the Cape,” Senator Moran said. “Coastal resources are too precious to waste on dumping radioactive material in favor of the corporate bottom-line.”

The legislation has received support from environmental advocates, residents, and elected officials on the local, state, and federal level. Alongside offering her own testimony in league with multiple advocate panels, the Senator submitted nine letters from surrounding municipal select boards (Bourne, Barnstable, Dennis, Duxbury, Eastham, Mashpee, Orleans, Plymouth, and Sandwich) who have expressed concerns about Holtec’s proposal.

The public hearing aligns with ongoing discussions between the Cape Cod state and federal delegation, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and the Department of Environmental Protection, who are meeting on April 13th to further discuss the risk of radioactive dumping and necessary oversight enhancements.

“The delegation looks forward to continuing these conversations and ensuring that we have a clear understanding of where state and municipal authority can enforce compliance to ensure the prolonged stability of our public health,” said the Senator.


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