Holtec Updating Permit to Potentially Allow Wastewater Discharge


PLYMOUTH – Holtec International is moving ahead with a permit modification that will potentially allow them to discharge wastewater from the Pilgrim nuclear Power Station decommissioning into Cape Cod Bay, though a timeline has not yet been set. 

David Noyes, Senior Compliance Officer with Holtec, said at the most recent meeting of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel that Holtec will continue to work with state and federal officials in testing the water for both radioactive and non-radioactive contaminants.

“This is the path that the EPA has given us to be able to move forward. We still have some reservations about the application portions of the permit, but we are going to move forward with plans to modify the permit,” said Noyes. 

He also outlined the water filtration system that will be utilized to remove contaminants from the wastewater, which he said he is confident will allow the water to meet regulations for discharge. 

“That [permit] modification coupled with the very high quality of the water, we believe will enable us to—without reservation by EPA or the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection—move forward with the discharge,” said Noyes. 

When asked by members of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel, Noyes said the company could not commit to waiting until the permit modification process was complete to discharge the water.

Other options to dispose of the water include heat-intensive evaporation, off-site treatment at a specialized facility, or continued storage. 

Governor Charlie Baker recently vetoed the creation of a special commission that would have studied the economic and environmental effects of decommissioning the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. The commission would have potentially banned discharge for two years while it assembled a report.

Plymouth/Barnstable State Senator Susan Moran spearheaded the commission effort, which she said she hasn’t given up on yet. 

About Grady Culhane

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

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