Holtec plans to build new nuclear reactors at its energy plants — but not at Pilgrim, for now
The owner of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is seeking to install new nuclear reactors at some of its power plants. But the company says a new reactor in Plymouth is not on the table, at least for now.
Holtec International, which is decommissioning the Plymouth plant and others around the country, doesn’t just dismantle old nuclear plants and secure the spent fuel. It’s also a supplier of equipment for decommissioning, and, it hopes, new nuclear reactors.
The company hopes to install a new type of reactor, known as a small modular reactor, or SMR, at plants in New Jersey and Michigan.
“That's a part of the business model,” spokesman Patrick O’Brien said. “I mean, regardless of whether it's nuclear or not, these sites have a history with energy.”
Massachusetts has a moratorium against new nuclear power plants, so the company doesn't have plans right now to put a new reactor in Plymouth, he said. But Holtec continues to talk with Plymouth officials about ways to re-use the Pilgrim site.
In addition to legal hurdles, community opposition to nuclear energy is a factor in Massachusetts and New York, he said. Holtec is decommissioning the Indian Point nuclear plant, an hour north of Manhattan on the Hudson River.
Pilgrim opponents say the radioactive waste from nuclear energy remains a problem, and they say sea-level rise could threaten the Plymouth site.
Longtime activist Mary Lampert questions the wisdom of adding nuclear capacity as a way to reduce carbon emissions.
“That drumbeat has been going on, and on, and on,” she said. “And I think a lot of people actually believe that and know very little about what the impact of radiation is on health.”
Holtec and other supporters contend that nuclear energy can be safe and secure.