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Local residents testify in favor of bill targeting Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station's proposed release of radioactive water

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Supporters of a bill designed to block the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station from releasing radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay testified this week before a state legislative committee.

The bill would make it illegal to dispose of radioactive material in Massachusetts “in any coastal or inland waters” or “on any land owned by any other person.”

“This is a common-sense act,” said Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association.

She testified Tuesday that even the perception of contamination in the bay puts Massachusetts seafood in jeopardy.

Mary Lampert, director of Pilgrim Watch, said dumping releasing radioactive water into the bay would devastate aquaculture, fishing, tourism, and real estate.

“We’re talking about the main economic driver of 20 towns, … but the impact extends beyond these towns,” she said.

House and Senate bills are making their way through the state legislative process. Proponents said they hope the Senate version, S.2791, will be favorably reported out of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in time for Earth Day, which is April 22.

It’s unclear whether a state ban would actually stop Holtec, the owner of Pilgrim, from releasing about a million gallons of radioactive water into the bay.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said repeatedly that Holtec is allowed to do so, within federal limits, and needs no further permits.

According to the NRC, previous water discharges from Pilgrim have not created radiation exposure any higher than what a person would receive by flying from New York to Los Angeles.

Holtec has said it is considering three disposal options, and may use all three: discharge into the bay, trucking to an off-site storage facility, and evaporation.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.