Proposed release by Pilgrim is ‘outrageous’


To the Editor:

There is currently an important ballot question waiting for approval by most select boards in the six Vineyard towns. The question asks voters to support or oppose a proposal put forth by Holtec to release 100 million gallons of irradiated water into Cape Cod Bay. Holtec is the company in charge of decommissioning the now closed Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth. Pending approval of the select boards, the question will appear on the election ballots this spring.

The question is a non-binding public advisory question that will require each town’s select board to report the results of that vote to the Massachusetts governor, attorney general, and state legislature.

Holtec has alternative ways of disposing of the radioactive water, but dumping it into the bay is their most efficient, expedient, and cheapest solution. The company has signed an agreement that none of this water will be released into the bay in 2022. The water is currently being tested to discover what it contains and in what amounts. The presence of tritium in the water is already established. Tritium is a radioactive element that is permanent and bioaccumulative. Physicians for Social Responsibility, firmly against the release of any of this water, assert that there is no safe dose of radiation.

Other groups that are steadfastly opposed are the commercial fishermen and shellfish associations who defy even one drop of this water hitting the water in the bay. They insist that even the perception that this water would be present in the bay would devastate the $700 million industry that comprises 2% of the local economy contributed by fish and shellfish consumption. The Herring Creek Wampanoags are strongly opposed as are many other long standing citizen groups such as the CapeDownwinders and Pilgrim Watch which have been greatly concerned about and monitoring the aging, failing nuclear plant for decades. Additionally, Senators Markey and Warren and Representatives Keating and Moulton have documented their firm opposition to Holtec’s proposal in a letter sent to Governor Baker and Attorney General Healey.

Registered Island voters will be able to weigh in their opinions on the election ballot this spring. Hopefully we can join the public outcry being raised by the towns on the Cape. With widespread public opposition we can work to ensure that Holtec will withdraw this ill advised, outrageous plan.


Ann Rosenkranz

Vineyard Haven