Holtec Denied Permission to Discharge Wastewater into Cape Cod Bay


BARNSTABLE – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has made a tentative determination to deny Holtec International’s request to discharge radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay, a move receiving praised by U.S. Senator for Massachusetts Ed Markey.

Holtec had requested to modify its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station which would have allowed the discharging of wastewater.

MassDEP determined that the discharge would violate the Massachusetts Ocean Sanctuaries Act.

Without a modified NPDES permit, Holtec is prohibited from discharging its wastewater into Cape Cod Bay as MassDEP’s tentative determination will now undergo a public notice and comment process before final determinations are made.

“This is a good day for environmental justice. MasDEP’s decision to deny Holtec’s permit modification request is a win for the environment and for all of the people, businesses, and organizations that rely on Cape Cod Bay’s reputation for clean and safe water,” said Senator Markey in a statement.

“When Holtec took over the decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in 2019, the company promised this community an open and transparent decommissioning process – a promise Holtec’s CEO repeated to me in hearing I chaired in Plymouth in 2022. In the years since, Holtec has fallen woefully short on this commitment – particularly with regard to its plans to discharge one million gallons of radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay, despite vehement opposition from local stakeholders,” Markey said.

Last November, Senator Markey led his colleagues Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Bill Keating in calling on Holtec to publicly commit to abide by the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations and not discharge effluent water into Cape Cod Bay without modifying its NPDES permit.

Holtec International representatives said they are disappointed by the state’s denial of their permit modification and contented that the treated water from Pilgrim is well within safe limits. 

The public will be able to comment on the tentative denial through August 28. 

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