NOAA Official Expresses Concern Over Potential Pilgrim Discharge Plans


PLYMOUTH – A National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration official has reached out to federal agencies with concerns over a possible plan to discharge radioactive water from the decommissioning of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station into Cape Cod Bay.

Peter DeCola, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent, recently sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission regarding the potential plan of Holtec International’s, Pilgrim’s owner.  

DeCola said the letter expressed concerns about transparency with Holtec and a lack of Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act analysis with the plan to dump the water in the bay.

DeCola said the letter also reminded the agencies that Stellwagen Bank, which is located east of Boston between Cape Ann and Cape Cod, is a federal marine protected area.

The superintendent said there are requirements for both agencies to consult with the Sanctuary before taking any actions that could affect the body of water.

He also said that sanctuary regulations prohibit the discharge of materials from beyond Stellwagen’s boundaries that would then enter it and injure its resources.

Holtec officials stated they would not discharge the water for now, but DeCola said the company has not completely ruled the option out either.  

“They assured Senator Markey at a recent field hearing in Plymouth that they would allow independent testing of the water so there’s transparency with what’s actually in the water,” DeCola said.

DeCola said the radioactive water is different than the cooling water that has been discharged into the bay for years.

“This is different because it’s the water that it’s in the spent fuel pool. All the rods have cooled in this water. They’re able to filter it, but they can’t filter things like tritium,” he said.

DeCola said he was still waiting to hear back from both the EPA and the NRC. He has also informed state lawmakers on the contents of the letter.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy