• Ben Kaplan

Senator Moran Secures Victory in Fight Against Radioactive Waste in Cape Cod Bay


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 22, 2022


CONTACT: Tara Wilson, Legislative and Budget Director Office of Senator Susan L. Moran tara.wilson@masenate.gov

Senator Moran Secures Victory in Fight Against Holtec Proposal to Discharge Radioactive Waste into Cape Cod Bay

Senate Approves Measure in Economic Development Bill, S.3018

(07/21/2022 - BOSTON) As part of the Senate’s recently passed economic development package S.3018, An Act relating to economic growth and relief for the Commonwealth, Senator Susan Moran (D – Plymouth & Barnstable) successfully advocated for the creation of a special commission to study the economic and environmental impacts of the discharge of spent fuel pool water and other materials created as a waste product of nuclear energy into the Commonwealth’s waterways.


The commission would be required to complete a report on their findings and recommendations by November 1, 2024, and hold four public hearings in Dukes, Plymouth, Bristol, and Barnstable Counties. Discharge of spent fuel pool water would be prohibited until 90 days after the completion of said report.


The measure is part of the Commonwealth’s response to Holtec International’s November 2021 announcement that they intended to release one million gallons of radioactive wastewater into Cape Cod Bay. The proposal has been met with widespread outcry from members of the public, as well as federal, state, and local officials, specifically raising the lack of sufficient regulatory oversight and opportunities for public input during the decommissioning process. On May 6, Senator Moran testified before the Congressional Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, chaired by Senator Markey and Representative Keating, in a rare field hearing held at Plymouth Town Hall. At that hearing, Senator Markey and Representative Keating secured a commitment from Holtec to submit the spent fuel pool water for third-party testing.


“Holtec’s announcement that the company would dump one million gallons of radioactive waste into Cape Cod Bay is already negatively impacting our communities. Even the perception of harm puts local industries at risk, and that is before we examine the real risk is to our environment and health. I am grateful to my partners on the federal, state, and local level who have advocated strongly for greater protections for the Commonwealth. This amendment adds to the progress we have made by requiring further investigation into the potential environmental and economic impacts and creating a formal avenue to incorporate public input.” said State Senator Susan Moran. “As the State Senator for Plymouth and Barnstable, I will not stand aside while Holtec puts profits over communities, and I am grateful that the Senate won’t either. The risk is too great for the Massachusetts Legislature to wait another day to act.”


“The voices of the Cape and Islands’ residents must be included in the Pilgrim Nuclear Station decommissioning conversation,” said State Senator Julian Cyr. “The release of contaminated water into Cape Cod Bay has the potential to significantly impact our environment and the lives of locals. Senator Moran’s amendment creates a commission to examine the decommissioning process and requires hearings in impacted counties, which would ensure public input and transparency. I am thankful to Senator Moran for her diligence and for standing up for our community members. I look forward to continuing to work together in these efforts.”

Co-chaired by the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental affairs or their designees, the commission would feature leading members of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture; the Department of Environmental Protection; the Department of Public Health, the Office of Travel, and the Division of Marine Fisheries. The commission is tasked with investigating the potential environmental and economic impacts, including impacts to consumer perception of the wastewater on the fishing, aquaculture, tourism, restaurant industries and other sectors deemed appropriate by the commission. The commission will include in its report recommendations on measures to mitigate or avoid potential negative impacts on such industries.


“The Save Our Bay coalition is enthusiastic to see Senator Moran’s anti-dumping amendment pass the Senate. This amendment is of unparalleled importance in the long fight against Holtec’s plans to dump nuclear wastewater from Pilgrim into Cape Cod Bay,” said Mark DeCristoforo, Executive Director of the MA Seafood Collaborative and Save Our Bay member. “We believe this marks a turning point in our campaign to save our bay. We are so grateful to Senator Moran, and Senators Edwards, Velis, Tarr, O'Connor and Cyr for ensuring the government of the Commonwealth stands with the people of our region against polluters.”

The Massachusetts Seafood Collaborative issued the following statement: "The Massachusetts Seafood Collaborative, on behalf of our harvesters throughout the Commonwealth, extend our most sincere gratitude to Senator Moran, and Senators Tarr, O’Connor, Edwards, and Velis for ensuring our ancient and historic fishing grounds are protected for the next generation.”

A version of this legislation having previously passed the House of Representatives, a conference committee will now be appointed to address any differences between the two bills.

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