NRC Criticized For Pilgrim Sale Process at Plymouth Meeting


PLYMOUTH – Representatives from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a meeting in Plymouth Wednesday night to address the recent decommissioning of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant and others around the nation.

Holtec International purchased the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station from Entergy Corp. earlier this year.
The NRC is required by the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act to present a report to Congress regarding the best practices of community advisory boards in areas surrounding decommissioned nuclear power plants after completing meetings across the nation, including Wednesday’s.
Citizens and elected officials alike were not happy with what they claimed was the NRC’s lack of transparency with the Holtec purchase. The NRC approved the license transfer on August 22, and the sale agreement was finalized days later.
Politicians such as Plymouth/Barnstable State Senator Vinny deMacedo argued that Massachusetts citizens were unable to properly provide their opinions on the subject. He specifically mentioned a letter he had written to the NRC voicing concerns about the nuclear decommissioning trust fund, to which the NRC replied that they were unable to comment.
“This is just another example of how disappointed we are with the process .How is it that we know that we’re protected?” deMacedo asked.
Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren as well as Congressman Bill Keating released statements showing displeasure, which were read during the meeting. The statements said concerns from residents were being outright ignored by the NRC. Senator Markey’s State Director Jim Cantwell mentioned that Markey would call for U.S. Senate hearings to make sure citizens are heard.
“NRC no longer stands for Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” Cantwell said on behalf of Markey, “It’s now saying that you are not recognizing citizen input.”
Other politicians who spoke out and showed dissatisfaction towards the NRC’s lack of clarity included Plymouth State Representative Matt Muratore and Plymouth Selectman Ken Tavares.
Co-Chair of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel Sean Mullin also spoke and expressed his thoughts on the NRC’s practices and the nuclear energy field as a whole.
“The system, the entire system, the regulations, the policies, the practices, are rigged in favor of the nuclear power industry. But we’re here because we can’t be silent when what is wrong is so clear,” Mullin said.
Mullin also argued that system is rigged due in part to the fact that the sale to Holtec was completed shortly after the NRC’s approval of the license transfer, and that nuclear decommissioning community advisory boards are being undermined.
Last week, Attorney General Maura Healey requested that a hold be placed on the NRC’s approval.

The NRC will be presenting their findings to Congress next year. Responses to a survey, as well as public comments, will be accepted until November 15. To learn more, visit and click on the “Spotlight” tab.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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