As of last week, I was pretty sure that the proposed siting of the multi-purpose machine gun range on top of the water supply that serves the Upper Cape was the winner of the worst environmental idea award for 2021. I am no longer sure as we learned of a proposal to discharge one million gallons of radioactive water to Cape Cod Bay. This supremely horrible proposal surfaced Thanksgiving week just after Black Friday and before Cyber Monday to ensure as few saw it as possible.

This latest insult to the Cape was proposed by Holtec, the nuclear decommissioning company that now owns what was the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. As a part of the decommissioning process, spent fuel rods are removed from water used to cool them and stored in dry casks. The now radioactive water needs to be disposed of and one of the options is discharging this radioactive water into Cape Cod Bay. Simply put, there is no world in which this idea is even remotely acceptable, and APCC will fight it at every turn.

Nuclear waste disposal has long been an Achilles heel for the nuclear power industry. Now that Pilgrim is being decommissioned, the question is now more real. Holtec knowingly bought into a situation where it knew it did not have a good disposal option for this cooling water and that is not Cape Cod’s problem. Cape Cod Bay cannot be considered a low-cost solution to Holtec’s profit problem.

WCAI’s report 1M gallons of radioactive water from Plymouth nuclear plant could be discharged into Cape Cod Bay

Cape Cod Times Pilgrim nuclear plant may release 1M gallons of radioactive water into bay. What we know