Citizens Advisory Panel Frustrated by Pilgrim License Transfer | WCAI

Citizens Advisory Panel Frustrated by Pilgrim License Transfer

Mar 21, 2019

Members of the Citizens Advisory Panel questioned a representative of Holtec.
Credit Sarah Mizes-Tan / WCAI

Members of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel were frustrated by what they say is a lack of answers from Holtec, the company looking to buy the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. During a meeting on Wednesday night, members of the panel asked Holtec questions regarding how much it estimated shutting down the plant would cost, and what their long term plans for storing the nuclear waste on site were. 

"All I think is the panel would like is more transparency in what they’re doing and absolutely more assurances that the things that need to be taken care of from the financials to the environmental are done properly," panel chairman Sean Mullin said. "What I want is the financial assurances and the transparency I think we deserve."

Holtec also stands to make a profit from the purchasing of the powerplant from its current owner, Entergy. The power plant has over a billion dollars saved to shut down the plant, but Holtec has stated it can close the plant in less time than Entergy proposed and for less money, and will therefore keep whatever remains in the fund.

The panel is an independent panel of local representatives and concerned community members, but they only operate in an advisory capacity to the state. On Wednesday evening, representatives from Holtec said they would be "irresponsible" in talking about plans that could extend to over a decade into the future.

"Up to this point, our focus has been to approve the license transferral," Holtec representative Andrea Sturgis said. "We do not own the plant, we are not assured of the license transfer, we are not at the point where we can speculate or plan what we might be doing 10 years down the road." 

The plant will stop operations at the end of May and workers will then work for the next handful of years to move all of the nuclear fuel rods into storage on site.