Famed anti-nuclear activist group The Cape Downwinders have devised a ballot campaign to move spent fuel at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station into dry cask storage.
Activist Becky Chin, who also co-chairs the Duxbury Nuclear Advisory Committee, explains the nuclear storage situation at Pilgrim:
“There is a swimming pool in the attic of the reactor that was designed for 880 assemblies and it now has over 3,000 in it so that they are racked much closer together, it is like a giant wine rack. On the site next to the reactor is a football field of concrete that has huge casks that they could put 60 or so assemblies in. We have no long term option that the federal government has provided for us, it is a better option than the swimming pool,” said Chin.
Every two years, spent fuel rods from the core of Pilgrim’s reactor are moved into the storage pool; however, it can take up to five years for the rods to cool down to a safe temperature for dry cask storage.
The Cape Downwinders ballot campaign is a plea to government officials; there is no official federal repository to store the spent fuel rods, so nuclear waste could remain on the site for several decades, even after the plant closes in 2019.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be back in Plymouth for another public meeting regarding Pilgrim on March 21.