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Nuclear Plant Smokestack to Be Demolished Wednesday

Demolition of the main emissions stack at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is scheduled to begin Wednesday as part of the ongoing decommissioning of the plant, which closed in May, 2019.

The 335-foot smokestack dispersed gaseous emissions that couldn’t go into the condenser. Radioactive materials were part of the mix.

Workers will remove one 38-foot section at a time, according to Holtec, which owns the Plymouth plant.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection sent an inspector to the site this week.

“We had a MassDEP asbestos staff person out today looking at the abatement work in anticipation of that demolition,” said David Johnston, who represents DEP on the state-appointed panel advising the governor on the decommissioning.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel is awaiting more details of sampling for contaminants at the site. 

The vice chair, Pine DuBois, said she wants to invite Gov. Charlie Baker to a meeting early next year so that members of the panel can speak with him about the site’s radioactive waste.

“The storage of waste has been a matter of ongoing discussion. … I would really like the governor to understand what a huge issue is that waste is in Massachusetts,” she said.

She said questions under discussion include how long the spent nuclear fuel will remain in Plymouth and whether the storage casks are sound.

Baker could convene a team of the best and brightest minds to determine the right course of action, she said.

Mary Lampert, a longtime opponent of Pilgrim, participated in her first meeting as a member of the panel on Monday. Senate President Karen Spilka appointed her to fill a vacancy.

During a discussion of soil testing for contamination, Lampert said it should include the land on Rocky Hill Road opposite the plant.

“My point is that the whole property, even that on the other side of Rocky Hill Road, is likely to have become contaminated,” she said.

The panel next meets in January.

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.