Plymouth: Cape Downwinders Devise Ballot Campaign

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,” says 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.

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About Mimi Walker

Mimi Walker is a 2016 graduate from Emerson College, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. While at Emerson, she was both an avid reporter and an on-air music personality at 88.9 WERS, Emerson’s long-running radio station. She also wrote for several on-campus publications. She covered the 2015 Edward R. Murrow awards in New York City, and had previous internships at 103.3 AMP radio and at Seacrest Studios in Boston Children’s Hospital (as well as with Rob and Lisa on the South Shore Morning News!) Her proudest academic achievement is being a TOMODACHI scholar and contributing to an iBook about American Senator and war hero Daniel Inouye, which led her all across Japan in her many school travels. Thanks to her time in Japan, and a semester abroad in the Netherlands, Mimi has an appetite for stories and all kinds of art across the globe.