Holtec: All Options Being Considered for Pilgrim Wastewater


PLYMOUTH – As more Cape Cod towns join in the effort to address Holtec Decommissioning International’s potential discharge of radioactive water from the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Cape Cod Bay, representatives for the company say that they are investigating all options. 

Senior Compliance Manager with Holtec David Noyes said during Monday’s meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel that state and federal reviews of their decommissioning plan are underway, but for now the water is still being utilized for shielding radiological work activities.

He said the ultimate fate of the water is still up in the air while the company performs more testing from both radiological and non-radiological sides.

“That will help inform our decisions on what the final method of final disposal is, whether that be trucking to another facility where it would be disposed of, whether it would be through evaporation or whether it will be through liquid discharge or some combination of the three,” said Noyes. 

“No data that we have gotten to this point has eliminated any of the three options.” 

He said that there are still no plans to discharge any of the approximately 1 million gallons of wastewater into the bay anytime in 2022. 

Noyes added that any use of the term “dumping” does not accurately describe the technique that would be utilized for the water, and that the discharge would be measured and utilize existing methods.

“Dumping is indiscriminate or irresponsible leaving of waste material. The discharge of liquid waste materials is something that has been scientifically studied, it’s part of the plant’s license, and I think we really need to consider the terminology,” said Noyes. 

MEMA officials said that they will review Holtec’s decommissioning process and potential discharge options, adding that there are several administrative hurdles between the wastewater and Cape Cod Bay.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Seth Pickering also confirmed that the state agency has not received any request from Holtec to utilize the discharge option at this time.

Several towns, including Harwich, have accepted ballot questions considering if municipal officials will call on Holtec officially to withdraw any potential plans to discharge the water into the bay.

Lawmakers including Plymouth and Barnstable State Senator Susan Moran and First Plymouth District State Representative Matt Muratore have also said that they will work towards legislation that will prevent the company from utilizing the bay entirely.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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