DeMacedo Sends Letter of Support to Trump to Help Move Spent Fuel

COURTESY PILGRIM NUCLEAR POWER STATION

PLYMOUTH – A bipartisan group of officials in the state are supporting a portion of President Trump’s “Budget Blueprint” which would allow for spent nuclear fuel to be moved from the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

Plymouth State Senator Vinny deMacedo is sending a letter to Trump expressing support for the $120 million in funding to restart the licensing process for the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository in Nevada.

In the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, a mechanism was created to allow plant operators to pay by the kWh for the construction of a centralized federal repository for spent nuclear fuel.

Yucca Mountain was identified as the location in 1987. Substantial construction at the site has been completed, but the facility was removed as an option in 2009 by the Obama Administration.

“This urgent and critical public safety, environmental and economic issue transcends politics and party affiliation,” deMacedo said. “I believe it is critical, on behalf of all citizens of the Commonwealth now – and for future generations – that we speak forcefully and with one common voice on this issue.”

Pilgrim has used more than 3,200 fuel assemblies since it began operations in 1972. The facility was designed to safely hold 880 spent fuel assemblies in wet pool storage.

“It is unacceptable that through federal government inaction America’s Hometown has become a de facto nuclear waste repository,” deMacedo said. “By resuming the licensing for Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, the federal government can meet its obligations to our community and ensure that the town of Plymouth does not have to continue to bear this burden indefinitely.”

The plant’s owner, Entergy, has begun using on-site dry cask containers to store the spent fuel.

According to the letter written to Trump, several casks have been filled and it is estimated that 100 casks would be needed to hold all of the spent fuel.

The plant is current under increased oversight from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after several unplanned shut downs and safety violations, and is considered one of the three worst performing reactors in the country.

The station is scheduled to close in 2019. Entergy is planning one more refueling of the facility in the spring.

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