MASSPIRG to NRC: Pilgrim Still Unsafe

Media Contacts


Statement of Janet Domenitz, Executive Director of MASSPIRG
On today’s Atomic Safety Licensing Board hearing
June 7, 2012

“Good morning. My name is Janet Domenitz, and I am the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, MASSPIRG. We are a not-for-profit, nonpartisan citizens’ organization with members across the state, including in Plymouth, MA, where the Pilgrim nuclear facility is located.

When I was growing up, I was involved with the Girl Scouts. I remember many things from that experience, maybe most of all, their motto: “Be Prepared.” I have concluded that no one now at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was a scout.

Let’s do a quick overview:

  • For decades, our organization and others have been asserting that nuclear power in general, and the Pilgrim nuclear facility specifically, is not safe.
  • For much of this last decade, we’ve argued that the Pilgrim facility is aging, unsafe, a threat to the environment and the public, insufficiently monitored, and a potential terrorist target—to name just a few concerns.
  • A year ago, there was a near meltdown and total catastrophe at the similarly constructed Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan.
  • Shortly after that, the NRC created a task force that issued three orders in response to the disaster, to enhance the safety of U.S. power reactors, using lessons learned from Fukushima. Pilgrim Watch then filed for a hearing on those orders. Their hearing request states that the orders are not adequate to meet safety concerns stemming from the Fukushima accident.
  • On May 25, the NRC gave its OK to Pilgrim to operate for another 20 years.
  • Meanwhile, in response to the PilgrimWatch request, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, on behalf of the NRC, scheduled today’s hearing, in part to consider arguments as to why Pilgrim is still not a safe facility. The ASLB concluded, and I quote, “… the filings raise several issues that require further exploration via an oral arguments session.”

So, with my Girl Scout DNA still intact, I ask, how can Pilgrim be prepared for an accident, today or tomorrow or for the next 20 years, if there are still questions about its safety—questions significant enough to warrant a hearing called by the NRC?

Taking again from the Girl Scouts, I am here to fulfill a pledge. It is one that our organization took almost 4 decades ago, to work towards a state, and a country, and a world where no one has to live in the shadow of an unsafe, unhealthy, and unsupportable nuclear facility.”