Decommissioning Officials Consider How To Remove Pilgrim Station's Coolant

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PLYMOUTH, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station was closed years ago, but the decommissioning company still has plenty of work to do. Spent fuel rods were moved into protective cylinders at the plant's site, but the water used to cool said rods did not have a clear destination for disposal.

One option that was considered at a Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel meeting on Monday was to release the million gallons of potentially radioactive water offshore into Massachusetts Bay.

Local and state elected officials and environmental groups raised arguments against that idea, worried about the potential impact it could have on the ecosystem and marine life. State and federal regulators will have the opportunity to speak before a final decision is made.

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An alternate plan was suggested at the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel meeting, an option similar to one used by the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant where the water would be shipped via truck off-site to an approved facility. Another solution suggested was to evaporate the water, a technique used in Pilgrim station previously.

Holtec International was named the company responsible for moving the plant's fuel rods and disposing of coolant. Holtec International spokesman Patrick O'Brien told the Cape Cod Times that removal of the fuel rods is expected to be completed by mid-December, while the disposal method for the remaining water will reach the decision process within six months to a year.

WBZ's Mike Macklin reports

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