After Nearly 30 years, A Step Towards Victory For Turco, Downwinders

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Opponents to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant gather for a rally at the statehouse in Boston.

Opponents to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant gather for a rally at the statehouse in Boston.

HARWICH – Diane Turco has been calling for the closure of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth for nearly 30 years. In a step towards that goal becoming a reality, plant owner Entergy announced Tuesday it would close the facility by 2019.

Turco, who heads the anti-Pilgrim group Cape Downwinders, said the organization was “thrilled” by the news that the plant would close, but expressed disappointment that the station could operate for the next four years.

“The public safety issues remain,” Turco said. “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has failed Pilgrim and Entergy in all their inspections this year. This is a serious public safety issue and Pilgrim needs to be closed now, not in 2019.”

But the decision can still be seen as a partial victory for Turco, who has been working to have the plant shut down since 1988, when then-Governor Michael Dukakis said the plant should not restart due to public safety concerns.

“My children were very young then, and that’s when I learned about the serious issue of Pilgrim and the lack of federal oversight,” said Turco, who has long been critical of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s handling of the Plymouth station.

The Cape Downwinders have been some of the most publicly visible Pilgrim opponents, often holding rallies at the Sagamore Bridge on Memorial Day and Labor Day as thousands of visitors leave Cape Cod after holiday weekends. Turco and fellow activists have been arrested multiple times for trespassing and protesting on Pilgrim property. Turco and three others were found guilty in October of 2014 in connection with a protest at Pilgrim in May of 2014. The four women received probation and a suspended sentence

“We’re hoping that we’ve educated the public. I think people understand the seriousness of the issue. I think this announcement will embolden more people to step up and say ‘shut it down now,'” Turco said.

The organization will call for the immediate shutdown of the station at a State House rally on Thursday, October 22 at 1 PM. A number of local elected officials will speak at the event, including Cape and Islands State Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich) and State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown).

Turco and others from the Downwinders rallied in the lobby of the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth as Entergy officials made the announcement about closing the plant. But one anti-Pilgrim protester made it into the meeting. Mary Lampert of Pilgrim Watch sat in on the press conference as co-chair of the town of Duxbury’s Nuclear Advisory Committee.

Listen below to hear Mary Lampert react to the news of the closure of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

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