Pilgrim Nuclear, Holtec Safety Lies
Pilgrim Nuclear, Holtec Safety Lies: Dry cask storage is not secure when anyone can walk up to them,
this close, without any restrictions.  So much for Holtec’s claims about “safety.” 

This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Diane Turco is Director of the Cape Downwinders on Cape Cod, a group that’s been fighting against the Pilgrim nuclear power reactor for more than 40 years.  Here, two interviews:
    • Post-shutdown problems at Pilgrim, including site security issues and her pending trial for trespassing to demonstrate to two NPR reporters how lax security is on the site.  From NH #472, July 9, 2020.
    • New interview on recent revelations of Holtec lies to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on “safety” issues at the Pilgrim site, along with lack of upgrades in security.  We spoke on August 20, 2021.
Pilgrim Nuclear activist and Holtec’s biggest Massachusetts foe,
Diane Turco of Cape Downwinders.

Numnutz of the Week (for Outstanding Nuclear Boneheadedness):

Water, water everywhere… and with TEPCO in charge at Fukushima, you know it’s more radioactive danger to the Pacific Ocean, rebranded as… radioactive danger to the Pacific Ocean.

LINKS:


Libbe HaLevy 

00:00:01

The nuclear industry counts on. We, the people to be easily confused by their double-talk and they love to play the game of the right hand. Doesn’t know what the left hand is doing case in point recent meetings on the decommissioning of the Pilgrim nuclear reactor in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and what’s going to happen to the highly radio active so-called spent fuel rods, which are filled with radioactive plutonium. While the decommissioning company Holtec is under intense political and public pressure to not build a consolidated so-called interim storage facility or C I S in New Mexico as a dump per highly radioactive waste up in Boston at a public presentation. They’re implying if not stating outright that it’s a done deal and we’ll be taking the dangerous waste away from the urban Boston area by misleading the public in many ways, including,

Diane Turco

00:01:03

And on one of the slides, it said that Holtec was planning to open a CIS in New Mexico and should be taking waste shortly after in 2024. So they’re setting up the people to believe that, and that’s what everyone wants to believe. It’s going to be out of here. That’s not happening. And so people aren’t really hyper-focused on what’s really happening with the waste and Plymouth. Well,

Libbe HaLevy 

00:01:29

When you hear a genuine expert and eye witness to these events, catch out a major nuclear industry player in such a blatant, let’s not call it a lie. Let’s just call it a misdirection for now. It, once again, points out how insidiously we are all being manipulated to remain sitting in that terrible seat that we all share

Announcer

00:01:54

Clear hot seat. What are those people thinking? Nuclear hot seat. What have those boys been breaking their hot seat? The Ms. Sinking our time to act is shrinking, but the visceral Hotsy, it’s the bomb.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:02:25

Welcome to nuclear. Hotseat the weekly international news magazine keeping you up to date on all things nuclear from a different perspective. My name is libi Halevi, I’m the producer and host as well as I survivor of the nuclear accident at three mile island from just one mile away. So I know what can happen when those nuclear so-called experts get it wrong. This week, we catch up with the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which was shut down more than two years ago. But the decommissioning by Holtec is still embroiled with safety issues and ongoing dangers. We’ll share two interviews with Diane Turko. She is director of the Cape downwinders on Cape Cod, a group that’s been fighting against Pilgrim nuclear power reactor for more than 40 years. The first interviews from 2020 a full year after the shutdown and provides a clear picture of the problems faced in the decommissioning process.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:03:27

The second is an update with new information on more recent Holtec lies to the nuclear regulatory commission, just because we shut them down. Doesn’t mean the battle is over. And Diane fills us in on the latest Holtec headaches. We will also have nuclear news from around the world, numb nuts of the week for outstanding nuclear bone headedness, and more honest nuclear information than has shown up in the $3.5 trillion budget bill and infrastructure plan. All of it coming up in just a few moments today is Tuesday, August 24th, 2021. And here is this week’s nuclear news from a different perspective in New Mexico, a proposal to build a so-called temporary nuclear waste storage site near Carlsbad drew a lawsuit against the nuclear regulatory commission by the state of New Mexico, which sought to block the project. The NRC has asked the U S district court for the district of New Mexico to dismiss the state’s lawsuit due to lack of jurisdiction.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:04:34

The state alleges that the NRC acted illegally in issuing an environmental impact statement for the Holtec project and a New Mexico attorney general Hector Baldez cited the nuclear waste policy act and argued that federal law stipulated a permanent repository be available before an interim storage site like whole techs could be permitted, no resolution yet. We’ll keep you informed fair ones, energy educations, Arnie Gunderson, their chief engineer, and one of our most reliable sources has taken on bill gates in an open letter in counterpoint, he states you have made a huge mistake by proposing to build a sodium cooled small modular reactor in Wyoming saying that it follows in the footsteps of a 70 year long record of sodium cooled nuclear technology failures. He called it an unproductive techno solution and a techno fix scheme, and we’ll link to it on our website on August 30th, environmental justice groups across California, we’ll be going to the state legislature to protest state agencies.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:05:45

Failure to clean up contaminated sites included in this group will be Melissa Bumstead and parents against Santa Susana field lab in Japan at Fukushima Daiichi, radioactive water has been leaking from the main building for unit three, which is outside of the reactor containment. Tokyo electric power company admits that it contains notable amounts of alpha radiation. It is fine particulate, and that means that fine fuel particles are leaking out along with the water, a July, 2021 study estimates that a buried zeolite wall and intended to block contaminated water from leaking into the ocean is expected to last 70 years while the cesium 1 37 has a half-life of 30 years and will last in its contaminated state for 300 years. And in more Fukushima radioactive water news

Libbe HaLevy 

00:06:50

I think Tokyo electric power company has found a new way to frame its release of radioactive water from Fukushima Daiichi into the Pacific ocean. In the hopes that people won’t notice that they’re releasing radioactive water into the Pacific ocean, they decided to build a new submarine tunnel about one kilometer long run pipes through it and release the water from Fukushima nuclear power plant off shore. The water is contaminated with the radio active substance Tridium. And while TEPCO said the treated water will be diluted by releasing it offshore. What they’re actually doing is dispersing it over a wider area. It will not make it any less potent. It will just make it less concentrated. It’s just more smoke and mirrors and radioactive blah-blah-blah from the company that brought you Fukushima Daiichi, triple nuclear meltdown. And that’s why KEPCO. Once again you are

Libbe HaLevy 

00:07:58

We’ll have this week’s featured interviews on the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts in just a moment. But first well we are off and running with the nuclear hot seat website, redesign and rebuild. I had to wait for my web genius, who is based in Thailand to clear enough of his schedule for us to get started, but we are on our way. We’ll have a new wire frame for how the site is going to operate by later this week and spend the next two months tweaking the structure and functionality as we load in the content. This is not a mere template to make the site prettier. It’s a full blown ground up restructuring of the site to make certain that Google doesn’t bury it in its new algorithm. The site will be easier to find in searches, load faster, be more secure, and all future upgrades will be easily managed.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:08:52

This has been necessary for a while now, and all systems are go, however, it’s a big step for nuclear hotseat. And of course this level of website development is expensive. Very I’m grateful to those who of you who have already donated to help with the 50% upfront deposit, but before the site can go live, it will need an equal amount of funding. And for that, we’re going to need your help. If you’ve come to value, nuclear, hot seats work, providing you with nuclear stories, you can’t find in mainstream media that had fact context and continuity. So you can understand the full picture. The time to support us with a donation would be right now, we make it easy. Go to nuclear, hot seat.com, click on the big red donate button to help us with a donation of any size. You can also set up a monthly $5 donation, the same as a cup of coffee at a nice tip here in the U S so if you value the nuclear information, you get every week from nuclear hot seat and want to help us continue.

Libbe HaLevy 

00:09:58

Please do what you can now. And it know that however much you can help. I am deeply grateful that you’re listening and that you care. Now, here is this week’s feature just because a nuclear reactor gets shut down does not mean that its problems and dangers go away case in point Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts, located at the foot of Cape Cod. It was shut down permanently on May 31st, 2019, but the problems at the site and the problematic actions of Holtec the company tasked with decommissioning it, our Legion, to give you a sense of what’s going on, including the most recently revealed problems. Here are two separate interviews with Diane Turko. She is director of the Cape downwinders on Cape Cod, a group that’s been fighting against Pilgrim nuclear power reactor for more than 40 years. The first interview with Diane is from episode number 4 72 from July 9th, 2020.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:11:02

That was one year after the shutdown. It spotlights whole techs, decommissioning lies, misstatements, and Diane’s still pending trial for trespassing because she demonstrated to two NPR reporters, just how lax security is on the site. I am Turco, it’s always a pleasure and an eye opener to have you on nuclear hot seat. So welcome. Thank you for having me Pilgrim nuclear in Massachusetts was shut down on May 31st, 2019, and is now facing what every nuclear reactor and community faces decommissioning the facility. And then what do we do with the deadly radioactive waste that left behind? Let’s start with a little bit of history of the site. What were the problems there? And give us a picture of what happened at Pilgrim. Leading up to the shutdown

Diane Turco

01:11:58

Pilgrim was ready by the nuclear regulatory commission for four years as the worst reactor in the United States. And as the NRC completed this special inspections and found more and more problems, systemic mission mismanagement, not fixing equipment, not filing reports, but the more oversight that the NRC provided, the worst Pilgrim became, and it’s just systemic mismanagement. And we’re seeing that transferring over to Holtec right now. And we’re very concerned about now, the decommissioning, I thought when they shut down Pilgrim, I could retire and play with my grandkids.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:12:38

What has been happening at Pilgrim since the shutdown it’s a little over a year now,

Diane Turco

01:12:44

Holtec Holtec is a major problem. And the lack of the nuclear regulatory oversight as we know is historical. So Holtec came into town and profess that they would be open and transparent with the community about what they would be doing during the commissioning, how they would be handling the waste when in fact they were not. And so we’re seeing a corporation that has a reputation for corruption, bribery, and scandal, and patting themselves on the back for the settlement, with it, the attorney General’s office in the state of Massachusetts,

Libbe HaLevy 

01:13:18

What were the issues involved between the state and Holtec that led to them having to negotiate their way into a settlement? And what, and how good or bad is that settlement?

Diane Turco

01:13:33

The attorney general and the state of Massachusetts determined that Holtec really didn’t have the funding available to do a safe and complete decommissioning, a Pilgrim. And they felt that there were financial, environmental and public safety concerns that weren’t being addressed. So they, the attorney General’s office filed a petition to intervene in February of 2019, to make sure that we were protected here in the state of Massachusetts. Well, it took over a year for this to be resolved. The NRC staff approved the license transfer and that happened, and they hadn’t even addressed the attorney General’s concerns. And so Holtec has just been moving forward on their own without considering what the needs were of the community and the state.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:14:20

Is it typical that the NRC, the nuclear regulatory commission, our national regulators would ignore the concerns of the attorney general of a state that is dealing with a nuclear reactor that has to go through decommissioning?

Diane Turco

01:14:39

Well, the NRA, these regulations don’t protect us and our state is trying to, so the NRCS is feeling that they, you know, what they’re doing is the right thing and it’s not happening. Luckily our state did get some good concessions in this agreement, but dealing with Holtec, we know that, you know, again, a corporation that’s known for bribery, corporation and scandal, can we trust that this is really going to be upheld? So when the whole tech came to Plymouth, their vice president, joy Russell stated that Holtec had an impeccable safety record and we had to turn around her and say, well, how many reactors have you decommissioned zero? And second, we said, you know, what have you been following what’s happening at Santa Ana fray? So we already know that we can’t trust this corporation to do the right thing by our communities.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:15:30

What was their response to the San Onofre query?

Diane Turco

01:15:34

A dirty look to me, no answer, no answer, no.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:15:41

Now Holtec and I find this to be laughable. Holtec has said that they can handle the entire decommissioning job in about eight years. How realistic is that? And how confident or not confident are you that they can do the job properly? Let alone in that timeframe,

Diane Turco

01:16:02

I have no competence in Holtec upholding what they say. Holtec had a slide presentation at the nuclear decommissioning citizens advisory panel and Plymouth. It’s a public event it’s broadcast. And on one of the slides, it said that Holtec was planning to open a CIS in New Mexico. It should be taking waste shortly after in 2024

Libbe HaLevy 

01:16:26

And C I S is consolidated interim storage site, which is a whole other subject we’ve been covering on nuclear, hot seat as well. I caught that reference and I was wondering whether they were trying to say, oh, it’s a done deal. We’ll just ship the waste. When there’s no approval, there’s no site. There’s no legality behind it.

Diane Turco

01:16:45

Exactly. So they’re setting up the people to believe that. And that’s what everyone wants to believe. It’s going to be out of here. That’s not happening. And so people aren’t really hyper-focused on what’s really happening with the waste and Plymouth. Now, Plymouth is America’s hometown. They were going to be celebrating their 400th anniversary this year and having millions of visitors come to Plymouth. And this waste site, this waste dump is not protected. You know, I have gone on the property with multiple reporters where we’ve been on the property for 30 minutes, eyeballing the dry cast, waving to the security cameras and no one comes out.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:17:23

So safety is a word that should be put in quotes when it comes to Holtec dealing with Pilgrim. Yes.

Diane Turco

01:17:31

Yes.

Libbe HaLevy 

01:17:33

You mentioned the Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey. She’s the one who first called Holtec plan for decommissioning quote, a wholly misguided premise that asked local and federal officials to trust that the plants be commissioning trust fund had enough money for Holtec quote on its first attempt to decommission and restore the site at a pace never before it achieved. Now, she has said that the agreement which was come to only this past June provides environmental, public safety and financial productions during the dismantling and cleanup of the plant. What changed or did anything change?

Diane Turco

01:18:15

That’s a really good question because we do see that they did get some concessions from Holtec, but the bottom line is, and I’ll go through those concessions in a minute. But the bottom line is this agreement is signed by two LLCs. Holtec decommissioning international, and Holtec Pilgrim legal entities responsible for this agreement. What happens if they go bankrupt?

Libbe HaLevy 

01:18:39

So it’s a legal entity. That’s responsible for the cleanup, but there’s no legal mandate for the company to come behind it. Is that what you’re saying?

Diane Turco

01:18:51

That’s what we’re questioning. You know, they did look for financial assurance and they’re asking for $193 million to be kept in the decommissioning trust fund. That’s

Libbe HaLevy 

01:19:02

What the state is asking. Yes.

Diane Turco

01:19:04

Yes. That’s in the plan. Yes. This is in the agreement because if you look at what Holtec has for assets, it’s just the property and that’s it. Their parent company, as you know, is Holtec SLC lanolin, but they’re our parent company. They’re not part of the LLC. So we’re concerned that they could become bankrupt. The attorney general has suggested that when Holtec files to get the money back from the spent fuel storage font, reimbursements, they will use that DOE money to put back into the decommissioning trust fund to keep it at

Libbe HaLevy 

01:19:39

That level. It sounds like a shell game.

Diane Turco

01:19:43

Yes, it does. It does. It does. And somebody even asked, I think they asked the AGS office what would happen if they don’t put that money into the DOE fund? The attorney General’s office said, well, we’ll have to chase them down. You know, I just love Maura Healey, our attorney general and that whole team. They’re a great group of people. But when I look back at who they’re dealing with, it’s very disconcerning.

Libbe HaLevy 

02:20:05

You said you were going to go through the terms of some of the concessions that were gotten from Holtec or this whole tech, what are they?

Diane Turco

02:20:17

There were three kinds of points that I’ll bring up because it is a pretty long document, but you know, all of these issues should have been resolved without having to have this long settlement agreement that took over year to be signed. One is the financial assurance and keeping those funds $193 million in the decommissioning trust funding for contingency plans, the partial site release I, and then $38 million after the partial site release for the spent fuel, they’re getting detailed reporting. Now the nuclear decommissioning citizens advisory panel has been asking for, give us updates, let us know what you’re doing. What is going on here and help? Nope, Nope. That they just did not cooperate in the most minimal way with the citizens group. So now they have to provide monthly reports and then to site restoration, the department of environmental protection, and the behalf of public health has asked for historical site assessments.

Diane Turco

02:21:16

They wanted ongoing monitoring of radiation and they wanted a site assessment and that’s all going to happen. They’re also hiring a site, licensed person to oversee this. The person will be paid for by Holtec, but they’re licensed by the state and this supposed to help with the reports to DEP and DPH. There will be an initial Pilgrim environmental site assessment that will be overseen by this licensed professional. Who’s licensed by the state of Massachusetts, but works the whole tech and is paid for by Holtec. But that person will be providing reports to the department of public health and the department of environmental protection, which they should be doing. Anyways. That’s just kind of communicating with the state on this huge disaster and I backyard.

Libbe HaLevy 

02:22:07

And what is the potential of this person who while maybe hired by the state is working for Holtec and in that whole tech environment of being in some way, compromised or impacted or influenced in the accuracy of his or her reports,

Diane Turco

02:22:31

This is the same person who’s being hired, who was part of the Yankee road, decommissioning, and another person who was involved with that said he wasn’t that good. So with the citizens, it’s still going to have to be on top of this. We’re just going to have to be reading all these reports and making sure that they’re complete.

Libbe HaLevy 

02:22:50

One of the points that I found particularly disturbing is that Holtec seems to believe that once they are done with decommissioning or what they’re calling decontamination, which I don’t know is possible, they’re talking about possible reuse of the site. What in the world could they possibly mean by that?

Diane Turco

02:23:11

It sounds like just a sales pitch to me who is ever going to build on that site. And when the NRC came to Plymouth and talked about reusing the property, they actually said they would build a elementary school next to the ISSI

Libbe HaLevy 

02:23:29

Meaning next to the site of Pilgrim,

Diane Turco

02:23:32

Right? We are Pilgrim is now they would allow a elementary school to be built there. It was at a, the November meeting. I think I asked them and I said, could you repeat, did you just say, you would say it’s okay. Once the site is released at an elementary school could be built right next to the ISSI. And they mentioned Rancho psycho. And I said, well, that’s still all there, but we would recommend to elementary school be built there on that site.

Libbe HaLevy 

02:23:57

I’ve also seen that there are certain things that Holtec has said that they’re going to do for the local community, a Plymouth to assist them. What are these steps

Diane Turco

02:24:09

In true NRC fashion? And Holtec follows that line. They will be putting trees around the, I S they independent spent fuel facility to hide it. Instead of protecting us. They want to hide it as if nobody would know it was there, you know, bad actors know that site is so open. And we feel that we’re much at risk to acts of malfeasance, because there is no protection there, but trees, if you go down the driveway of Pilgrim, there’s under the no trespassing signs. There’s another sign that says danger, poison Ivy. It’s true. I’ll send it to you. It’s true.

Libbe HaLevy 

02:24:49

Are please send me that picture.

Diane Turco

02:24:51

Are you kidding me? Danger, poison Ivy, right under the trespassing signs.

Libbe HaLevy 

02:24:56

Well, of course that’s the worst thing one can get from a radio active site.

Diane Turco

02:25:02

So maybe, maybe they’re planning to plant poison Ivy all over the property.

Libbe HaLevy 

02:25:06

That would probably be more effective than what their current security levels are. Right. And let me ask you about that. What security is Holtec going to be providing during this decommissioning process,

Diane Turco

02:25:21

Right? We asked Holtec and the NRC, what is the security, but it’s kind of what does that word? They can’t release it because it’s proprietary, but what the agreement did, and you’ll be shocked at this, or maybe not what the agreement did was look at cybersecurity, which there is none. And they did get in the agreement that they will improve their cybersecurity and get this. They will use secure remote access methods. Like they don’t have that. Now they will use only strong passwords change, default passwords and consider other access controls. I mean, this is common sense security, and they don’t even have it. Now it’s part of this agreement because the NRC doesn’t require,

Libbe HaLevy 

02:26:10

And this is outrageous. And when they talk about cyber security, excuse me, I don’t know what cybersecurity is going to do when you’ve got a physical facility there with spent fuel rods, which are highly radioactive, all the radio active material that is from the containment vessel and all of the contamination that has leaked out during the decades of its operation. Right.

Diane Turco

02:26:37

Right, right.

Libbe HaLevy 

02:26:39

So I know that you have been protesting against Pilgrim for how many decades is it now?

Diane Turco

02:26:47

Since the early 1980s, when I went to a lecture by Dr. Helen Caldicott and she just changed my life,

Libbe HaLevy 

02:26:55

She has a habit of doing that. Yes. More recently, there has been a lawsuit filed against you, or there are charges against you that are calling you in for actually, is this going to be a hearing or a trial or explain the circumstances under which these charges were filed and what it has led to thus far

Diane Turco

02:27:20

In November of 2018 to national public radio report is called me and asked if I could take them to Pilgrim to see the site. As I had been writing about how this was security, I had gone on the site previously in August with Walter Robinson of spotlight fame. And so I wrote about being on the property with Walter Robinson, standing there, and no one, no security came up for about a half an hour. So we went on to the site in November and we stood around waving to the security cameras. No security came out. So about 20 minutes later, we got in our cars and drove to the main entrance on the other side of the property and went into the building to find the security. And they finally, finally came out after we were like calling them and we were told to leave. And we said, okay.

Diane Turco

02:28:11

I said, let’s take our time because I want to see if they’re going to look out the window to make sure we really go down the driveway. And they finally did come out, looked at us. We waved and left. And three hours later, there was a knock on my door. And there was a Howard police officer. Now I live 50 miles from Pilgrim about an hour away. And Howard police officer knocked on my door and asked me if I had been at Pilgrim that day. And I said, yes. And he said, well, you shouldn’t go there. You could be arrested for trespassing. I just started laughing. I’m like, are you kidding me? You’re in my home telling me not to go to Pilgrim when I was eyeballing those dry casks hours ago. So a few weeks later I received a call from the Plymouth police.

Diane Turco

02:28:51

Again, asking me if I was on the property. Yes. Well, you would be charged with trespassing. You will have to go to a magistrate’s hearing. So I actually was never arrested for trespassing. I had to go to a magistrate’s hearing and say, yes, I was on the property at this date at this time. And then I was charged with trespassing. Could you imagine if I was a bad actor? And that’s what we were trying to show is, you know, this isn’t the first time in 2014 with Cheryl fee and doc, or I investigative reporter filmed us on the property while I’m gods walking by us, going off the property, looking for people who are in the area. Yeah. And then with Walter Robinson later on. So we were trying to expose the fact that there’s no security here. I mean, if the NRC requires cameras, the cameras may be there, but they’re not being monitored.

Diane Turco

02:29:43

And I don’t even know if they’re working, but the police report said that we set. I said that we went into an area that nobody could see us. And I never said that. So anyways, fast forward, the pretrial hearing was in September, but the district attorney wasn’t prepared. So they moved that up two months, another pretrial hearing the district attorney wasn’t prepared again, they moved it up again. Well, when they moved it up, they set a date, which some of my witnesses couldn’t make Walter Robinson. He teaches at the university of Arizona, Michael Dukakis, former governor Michael Dukakis is at UCLA. These are the

Libbe HaLevy 

03:30:20

People who are going to bear witness on your behalf.

Diane Turco

03:30:23

Yes, yes, yes. And so we asked that the trial be moved to the spring when they come back from their teaching positions out west, but then COVID happened. And so it was postponed to July and I was best been postponed again until September.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:30:41

So there’s no way to do this virtually over zoom. You can’t see a magistrate or beyond trial

Diane Turco

03:30:47

If whole is actually a trial yes.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:30:50

With a jury and a jury box.

Diane Turco

03:30:52

Yes, yes. Yep. Told jury trial and Dave locked bomb will be another witness to form a union of concerned scientists. David Locke bomb will be a witness. And he wrote a really fabulous piece on the necessity, defense and Pilgrim that I very appreciative of. So anyways, having trees is not going to prevent an act of malfeasance.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:31:14

I can just imagine the potential for ill under these circumstances. I know that as regards Indian point, somebody I know here who is a filmmaker, showed some footage he had from a documentary that’s not fully edited yet. And he was on the river facing Indian point and very close to the intake and it just went, they already parked the boat. And he said, well, we expect to have security out here any minute. And he kept on checking in. It’s like every few minutes and then every five minutes and then every 10 minutes and then every 20. And it was a couple of hours and nobody had come out yet. Wow. Yeah.

Diane Turco

03:31:59

So

Libbe HaLevy 

03:32:00

This is a security risk within our country, but yet I think teach us, don’t take nuclear seriously for the weakness and the potential for devastation, but it does help.

Diane Turco

03:32:15

Right? Absolutely. And especially with the spent fuel pools, you know, the union of concerned scientists completed that study with their Princeton peers that found if there was a bed fuel pool fire at Pilgrim, the contamination could extend from Manhattan to Nova Scotia. I’ll send you that map. And we have brought it to every elected official. Every testimony that we’ve presented has involved this map, actually, Senator Maki requested it from the unit concerned scientists to look at what was in the spent fuel pool at Pilgrim and how that would be impacted. And when we were at the Pilgrim site, when the NPR reporters and I were on the site, they didn’t call the police until we walked into the building because the police report said they will call it at 11 o’clock that’s when we left,

Libbe HaLevy 

03:33:06

This is all terribly upsetting. But at the same time, not unexpected. When one looks at the risks that are taken to our health safety, to the security of this country, based on domestic nuclear reactors spent fuel pool, inappropriate storage of waste, and even the unremediated uranium mines in Navajo nation and on other native lands as well on the Lakota reservation as well. So we are at risk from all directions. And I think Pilgrim is a particular object lesson. If people are willing to pay attention to it. So what is being done now to snap people out of the, oh, well it’s closed or problems are over frame of mind and to realize that this is ongoing and it’s not going to go away by itself.

Diane Turco

03:34:02

Oh, and that is a huge issue because now with this agreement, even people who kind of are in the know say, well, now that that’s resolved. And I thought, no, it’s far from resolved. This is a good start. The state has a little bit more oversight, but Holtec is still going to need to be under heavy scrutiny. And the citizens are still going to have to be picking and checking out all of these reports, going to meetings, doing the research and connecting with people across the country to make sure that our communities are protected because our government is failing to do that for us.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:34:40

What has been the hardest part for you in all of this work? Especially after, shall we say for decades of doing it?

Diane Turco

03:34:49

The hardest part is the disappointment in our government in listening to our citizens. And we’re seeing that now in full bloom, everywhere, it should be about our communities. And we are stakeholders in what we say and what we ask should be holding more weight than a corporation making profits.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:35:10

And how do you deal with this when perhaps it Wells up and feels unbearable?

Diane Turco

03:35:16

Well, I feel privileged that I have the time and I have a supportive family and I can do this work. So I feel very privileged.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:35:25

So it’s gratitude that gets you out of any sense you might find yourself in.

Diane Turco

03:35:30

Right, right. Because you know what it’s about. We, the people and it’s about govern with our consent and we do give our consent to this nonsense.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:35:41

Anything else you would like to add at this time that we haven’t had a chance to go into?

Diane Turco

03:35:45

I would recommend people read this agreement because this is the start of what’s happening for decommissioning. And particularly with Holtec buying up a lot of nuclear power reactors. I think this is there’s some really good stuff in here that other states might be able to model, but there’s also warnings about wiggle room and that we have to stay ever vigilant to being on top of this issue.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:36:11

And if listeners to nuclear seat were to come to the support of the work that you and the others are doing, what might that look like? What can we do for you

Diane Turco

03:36:22

Stay on top of everything in your own communities and let’s stay connected because we’re all in the same boat. We are redoing our website to update it for decommissioning. So I can’t send people to the website, but I would just say, continue working in your own community, talking to your neighbors, writing your letters and stay on it because you know, it’s about our future

Libbe HaLevy 

03:36:45

And not only our future, but our children and our children. Children’s grandchildren.

Diane Turco

03:36:51

Yes. We have a responsibility to make sure the next generations are safe. And again, do we have a campaign safety as a human, right?

Libbe HaLevy 

03:37:01

That was Diane Turco from our interview from July of 2020. Now for the update recorded on Friday, August 20th, 2021. What is the current status of the Pilgrim nuclear facility? And then we’ll get into, what’s been happening since the shutdown.

Diane Turco

03:37:21

Okay. Well, you know, we’re calling it the Pilgrim nuclear waste dump for what it is. And we’re really concerned that Holtec is presenting this as a very safe, kind of secure it’s okay. Kind of thing. It’s going to be leaving soon, so we don’t need to worry about it. And so there’s kind of a, an attitude of it’s okay. For now, when in fact it’s more alarming than ever, the more we have finding out about what’s happening there, the more serious it is becoming, we have found that the security there is still very, very poor. Recently. Some people went on the property again for quite a length of time, you know, right up to the dry cast onto the property, beyond the no trespassing signs. And no one came out again, we had a letter from a whistleblower come out and talk about the port security there in the poor following, through of security regulations. And then this last situation was when I read about a report that the NRC was asking for additional information regarding ambulance services at Holtec Pilgrim. Yeah.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:38:30

Tell us about that. Because that relates to the safety on the site or in the area, should there be a breach of the spent fuel pool or the storage cask,

Diane Turco

03:38:43

Right. And the interesting part of this story is it reflects the safety for their workers. This isn’t even about public health and safety. This is about safety on site and how whole tech so negligent to their own workers. The NRC sent a letter to Holtec requesting additional information regarding their ambulance services and safety plans at the ISSI or their spent fuel dump. And one of the questions was asking them to clarify that the American medical response provides transportation for contaminated injured personnel. And that was the big point contaminated injured personnel.

Libbe HaLevy 

03:39:22

And by contaminated, you’re talking about being contaminated by radioactive materials.

Diane Turco

03:39:27

Yes, yes, yes. And the NRCS position is that an injury precedes contamination that the injury needs to come first. So I thought, well, that’s kind of an easy question. Why don’t they just say, yes, it will. So I thought I’ll just call up the American medical response, ambulance service and ask them. So I called them up and asked, you know, would they transporter contaminated, injured personnel from Pilgrim? If there was an accident there? And they said, well, we haven’t serviced that area in over four years. And like what you’re listed in their NSC report as the service provider over four years. So I thought, whoa, I can get to find out who is the service provider and will they transport a contaminated injured person?

Libbe HaLevy 

04:40:17

So in other words, Holtec actually gave documentation to the nuclear regulatory commission say, oh, these guys have got it covered and they’re doing the workforce, but they haven’t done it for four years.

Diane Turco

04:40:29

Exactly. So I contacted the Plymouth police department to follow up on who was the service provider. I spoke with the staff person there and they said, Brewster ambulance service was a current provider. And I said, so would they transport contaminated, injured personnel? And so the fire department said, no, they would not. It would have to decontaminate somebody first do some gross decontamination, but no, the answer was no, they would not. So I called Brewster ambulance, their main office. And they said, well, the person who can answer that question, isn’t here. They’ll get back to you two days later. No one got back to me. I called again, oh, they’ll call you later. Another day. They never called me. And I thought, well, that’s odd. It’s a simple question. So I called the local Brewster ambulance service rate in Plymouth, right. To the horse’s mouth and asked an EMT. They’re the same question. That’s right on the NRC report, would you transport contaminated, injured personnel? And he said, no, they needed to be decontaminated first.

Libbe HaLevy 

04:41:33

So that does no good. If there has been a radiological release in somebody who has been contaminated with who knows how much radiation as a result, they’re basically stuck on site with the need to call an Uber in order to get to a hospital.

Diane Turco

04:41:50

They probably have something there to decontaminate people. I’m sure they do, but that they didn’t answer the question on to the NRC made me really suspicious. So subsequently I went to the nuclear decommissioning citizens advisory panel to ask in public on the TV. And they, of course, somebody had called them and said that Bruce was the updated service. So I knew they would have that, but they said it was immaterial. That’s an immaterial question.

Libbe HaLevy 

04:42:18

Now, is that the position of the NRC or that’s what whole tech was doing to say, they’re, they’re missing you. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it.

Diane Turco

04:42:25

Holtec because actually you won’t believe at the NRC. I did get the definition of exactly what they were looking for. And that’s when they said the service needs to be able to transport some who’s injured above contamination because the injury might be so severe. That’s the priority. And so that’s what they were looking for. We even had somebody from the state kind of backup Holtec and say, well, you know, we know we have a contract, an agreement with this ambulance service. So later on I emailed that person said, well, can I have a copy of that? Oh, we don’t have the document. So, you know, every time you ask a question, you get a dead end. So I filed an allegation with the nuclear regulatory commission,

Libbe HaLevy 

04:43:03

Explain to us what it means to file an allegation with the nuclear regulatory commission. And what’s significant about the way they have handled it so far.

Diane Turco

04:43:13

Usually an allegation comes from within the industry and people can file anything. Their identity is kept secret. So nobody gets any blowback. It’s an avenue to file a complaint about something that somebody has seen. And I just put it out in public. I actually sent it to the N D cap. I sent it to Senator Markey, Senator Warren. So it’s out there. They don’t have to hide my identity, but it’s usually protecting, whoever’s going to be like kind of a whistleblower kind of thing. So the NRC said, they’re going to dismiss the first allegation that they use the wrong ambulance service. And it was over four years old. They dismissed that because Holtec corrected it, but they off going forward with the second allegation that they still don’t know if the ambulance service would do what they are required to do. And I said, this is an emergency situation right now at Holtec they’re putting the waste into the cans, those cheap cans, moving them up a hill. They’ve never done this before they tested the, the big transporter in the hydraulic system broke down twice. So the NRC hasn’t even had to be able to view a dry run yet. And they’re doing that right now, right here in Plymouth while I’m not in Plymouth, but in Plymouth. And we don’t know if those emergency are appropriate for any of their work is, and that’s the bottom line. They’re not even protecting their workers. Yeah.

Libbe HaLevy 

04:44:38

Are there other false statements that you found that Holtec has made

Diane Turco

04:44:46

That just made my day? You know, when they first came to town, joy Russel, the vice president of Holtec sat in an auditorium at the Plymouth middle school and said, we have an impeccable safety record. And I said, so tell me what’s going on. It’s in an old fray. That wasn’t the exact time the NRC was having this special inspection, but the near drop. And I sit in how many nuclear reactors have you decommissioned? She said zero nice safety record. You’ve got none.

Libbe HaLevy 

04:45:19

And was there any further response to that or was it thank you very much for sharing next person?

Diane Turco

04:45:24

No, it was just a really bad stare.

Libbe HaLevy 

04:45:28

So what are some of the other issues? I know we’ve gone over Plymouth in previous broadcast, but there are, are there any more, shall we say, newer, false hoods that you have caught Holtec in that are reasons for concern.

Diane Turco

04:45:45

Recently, Mary Lambert of Pilgrim watch received a letter from a security worker at Pilgrim stating concerns about the lack of security at the site. And he did not think it was was appropriate. And that’s one thing that we’ve been very concerned about for many years. And secondly, a friend in a video tography went on the property, CyPass, no trespassing signs, guards, security area, no parking, and went right up to where the dry cats being stored. You can see these canisters from the street, it’s a public road, it’s an invitation. I said, all you need is a few picnic tables to be more inviting. And Holtec keeps saying, everything’s fine. Everything’s good. And you know, it’s just magical thinking. So they want the property and no security ever came out. They walked around to the side where the reactor is and nobody came out once again, once again.

Libbe HaLevy 

04:46:45

So where does this currently stand in terms of what Holtec is doing? What Holtec is saying, what you and your group and Mary Lambert are seeing as the truth of the situation?

Diane Turco

04:47:00

Well, number one, we’re all concerned about the canisters, the Holtec high stone, 100 canisters of thin walled cams,

Libbe HaLevy 

04:47:10

The five eighths of an inch thin canisters that are being used at San

Diane Turco

04:47:14

Onofre. They’re half inch here. Oh

Libbe HaLevy 

04:47:17

Wow. Well, they sh they managed to shave off an eighth of an inch from, Hey, it’s only nuclear waste.

Diane Turco

04:47:23

Right? Right. So all very concerned that the substandard cans are being used. We’re concerned that the security is very lacking. And also here in the state, we have legislation, that’s asking for the canisters to be monitored for radiation temperature. They only monitor one, and then they have those LTDs out in the field, but it’s too late. It’s too late. We need to be having cans that prevent radioactive release, not trying to mitigate after we also know too, that there is no mitigation plan for damaged leaking, or even potentially leaking canister. I asked at one of the meetings, what whole tech would do if Ken was leaking. And they said they would put a larger canister, concrete camp cast over it. And I said, well, you have already the mountain, the field here. Do you have one of those onsite? No, they don’t have one on site. It’s in New Jersey. I think it must be just a mock-up. I said, so was that approved by the NRC? And they said, no. So if anything happens there, there is no mitigation strategy or plan. And as you know, they’re making the emergency planning, shrink rate to the fence, right. To the fence, because we all know

Libbe HaLevy 

04:48:35

Well that when radiation is released from anywhere, it looks at the fence and goes, Ooh, we can’t go any further.

Diane Turco

04:48:41

All you need is a chain link fence to keep it in. You know? So I didn’t ask, you know, what? The waste here is next to a public road. There’s a big field in front of it. There’s a four foot concrete, fake Stonewall, but on the hill of the canisters, and then there’s a chain-link fence. And above the chain-link fence, you can see the vents of the cans. It is just a sitting duck. It’s a sitting duck. And so we’re really concerned about that. But the AGS agreement, the attorney General’s agreement said that they would put shrubbery around there. And I asked him, I said, this is a public meeting. Holtec could you shoot through that shrubbery? And he said, yes. And then nobody says anything. We’re really concerned. We’re really concerned that there’s nothing being done in the effort to make things more safe. We see this way, staying here forever. That’s our opinion. It can’t be sent out to New Mexico and Texas. We can’t do that. That’s not right.

Libbe HaLevy 

04:49:43

And it’s also not legal yet.

Diane Turco

04:49:45

Right? Exactly, exactly. But Holtec had a public meeting where they had a slide that said, if all goes, well, the waste will be leaving Plymouth by 2024. That was a public meeting. So I just think the people in the area of thinking, we don’t need to worry about this whole tech set, it’s going to be gone. Holtec says it’s safe. Holtec says everything’s fine. And you know what? People that believe in that,

Libbe HaLevy 

05:50:11

And it’s nuclear industry gaslighting all over again. It’s the way they operate. So what is it that you are asking or what is the next step that you are taking? What can be done?

Diane Turco

05:50:27

That’s big question. We’ve been in touch with Senator Markey’s office. We’ve got legislation at the state house. We’re asking them all the cans. Each individual can, is monitored. And it’s, real-time monitoring to the state, open to the public viewing in the state of Massachusetts. There is a state law that identifies a 10 mile area as a nuclear power plant area. That’s on the books. That’s not federal that state. We filed a bill or two bills, actually one in the house and one in the Senate at the state level to increase that nuclear power plant area to 50 miles and include nuclear waste dumps until the waste leaves the site, because nobody is recognizing that we are still a risk area with the waste here. It’s not safe. And so we’re trying to push that through. And so that’s what we do in here in the state.

Libbe HaLevy 

05:51:21

What can we do to support you? What can anyone listening to this do to help

Diane Turco

05:51:25

If you know anyone in Massachusetts, ask them to ask their state legislator, the state Senator, or representative to sign on to our bill S D 2 6 2 2. Okay. It’s an app to improve public health and safety standards in communities around aging, nuclear, power plants, and high level nuclear waste dump sites. It’s I think the first one in the country and it’s at the state level, we feel our federal government has failed us, both Senator Maki and our representative Keating have introduced legislation that talks about 50 miles. The dry cast act says if they don’t move the waste out of the pool within seven years, the emergency planning expands to 50 miles. That’s gone nowhere. And the nuclear decommissioning act says communities within 50 miles should have some say in decommissioning. So we see at the federal level, there’s already recognition of that 50 miles zone, whether it’s an operating reactor or a shut down nuclear power plant site with a waste dump communities need to have voices and what’s going on. We need to get the public to be engaged in this. It’s not an industry run issue. It’s really a public run issue. And that’s where we’re going to get safety because you know, the industry is about the bottom line and it’s not about public safety. And until the people step up and start speaking out about what they want for their communities, it’s not going to happen.

Libbe HaLevy 

05:52:55

That was Diane Turko director of the Cape. Downwinders on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It’s a group that for more than 40 years has been fighting first to shut down the Pilgrim nuclear reactor, and now to have it safely decommissioned

Announcer

05:53:11

The business.

Libbe HaLevy 

05:53:18

Good news about the King’s bay plow share seven. Patrick O’Neill is out of prison on April 4th, 2018, seven Catholic Ploughshares activists entered the Kings bay Naval submarine base in St. Mary’s Georgia. They went to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to beat swords into plowshares, carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood. The seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction. They hope to call attention to the ways in which nuclear weapons kill every day by their mere existence and maintenance. Patrick was found guilty and had been in federal prison since January of 2021. Now he is out, he still has three months to stay in a halfway house in Raleigh, 550 miles away and expects to have PTSD from his experience being in one extremely loud room with 115 men since January and then 35 days in pre-release isolation with 30 other men and 27 loudspeakers blaring announcements that reverberated against the walls.

Libbe HaLevy 

05:54:28

But for a moment, he was out eating chocolate, chip ice cream and homemade chocolate chip cookies. We wish him well. And look forward to his full release. On November 19, you are invited to join Kristen Iverson for a sneak peek of scenes from her forthcoming documentary, full body burden. Based upon her award-winning memoir. This will be available to stream on September 15 and 16. You can join the public discussion, examining the legacy of the Rocky flats, nuclear weapons plant that contemporary issues confronting Colorado and our shared nuclear future that will take place on September 16 at 4:00 PM. Mountain standard time. We’ll have a link so that you can register on our website, nuclear hot seat.com under this episode, number 5 31, that’s where we will also have a link to a petition by code pink women for peace, which states that new money for nuclear weapons is outrageous.

Libbe HaLevy 

05:55:27

And that we need to tell members of the powerful house appropriations committee that we need to defund nuclear weapons and invest in our communities. And I’m last week show number five 30. We thanked Robin Collyer of KCI radio in Taos, New Mexico for use of the recording she did of the town’s environmental film festival panel. We may live in gender fluid times, but Robin has since informed me that she is actually a key and sent me a picture to prove it. My apologies for the mix-up and gratitude for your graciousness in setting me straight. This has been nuclear hot seat for Tuesday, August 24th, 2021 material for this week show has been researched and compiled from nuclear-news.net dot wordpress.com beyond nuclear.com. The international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, Kings bay plow shares seven.org. Current Argus com portside.org cross-cut dot com counterpunch.org, Melissa Bumstead and parents against Santa Susana field lab nuclear disaster on Facebook, Tokyo dash N p.jp, the bulletin.org, simply info.org and to the captured and compromised by the industry.

Libbe HaLevy 

05:56:42

They’re supposed to be regulating nuclear regulatory commission. Thanks to all of you for listening and a big shout out to nuclear hot seat listeners and followers around the world. Now, if you want to make certain that you never miss a single episode of nuclear hot seat subscribe, it’s easy to do. Go to the website, nuclear hot seat.com. Look for the yellow opt-in box, put in your first name and email address, but bam, every week, as soon as the show post, you’ll get a link at a short summary of the material that’s included. And just for the heck of it, go to the nuclear hot seat, Facebook page, click like make a comment, share with friends. It helps us get the word out. Now, if you have a story lead, a hot tip or suggestion of someone to interview, send an email to [email protected] And if you appreciate weekly verifiable news updates about nuclear issues around the world, take a moment to go to nuclear, hot seat.com and look for that big red button.

Libbe HaLevy 

05:57:43

Click on it. Follow the prompts at anything will help. We always appreciate your support. This episode of nuclear hot seat is copyright 2021 Leiby Halevi and heart history communications, all rights reserved, but fair use allowed. As long as proper attribution is provided. This is Leiby Halevi of heart history, communications, the heart of the art of communicating, reminding you that every nuclear reactor creates deadly radioactive waste that lasts forever. So for any green new deal to be genuinely green, it must not include nuclear. There you go. You have just had your nuclear wake-up call. So don’t go back to sleep because we are all in the nuclear hot seat,

Announcer

05:58:31

Clear hot seat. What are those people thinking? Nuclear hot seat. What have those boys been breaking their hot seat? The Ms. Sinking our time to act is shrinking, but nuclear Hotsy it’s the bomb.