Advocates Rally Outside Nuclear Commission

By Sarah Birnbaum & Kristina Finn

June 7, 2012

pilgrim protest june 7 2012
Protesters against the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant as they demonstrate outside a hearing of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board on June 7. The hearing was requested by the anti-Pilgrim group, Pilgrim Watch, whose members were among the protesters. (Steven Senne/AP)

BOSTON — Advocates rallied in Post Office Square outside a hearing of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the morning of June 7 to protest the relicensing of the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant. 
Janet Domenitz, executive director of liberal-leaning think-tank Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, was among the protesters.
"Pilgrim is not safe. Nuclear power is expensive, it is unsafe to the public health and to the environment and we need to find alternatives," she said. "The idea that the NRC has just given this aging plant another 20 years of life shows that they are not paying attention. And we are. And we are calling for a reconsideration of that decision."
Meanwhile, Pilgrim is embroiled in a labor dispute that has resulted in a lockout. Unionized plant workers were also at the rally to protest Entergy management.
Kelly O’Brien, a locked-out engineer at Pilgrim, said the replacement workers weren't qualified to run the plant, potentially compromising public safety.
"The fact of the matter is, you look at the people here, the majority of us have anywhere from 20 to 40 years of experience in that plant," he said. "The workers that are coming in would not be familiar as well as we are with respect to the intricacies of what that plant is and how it's operated."
As for the safety question, he said, "The safety of the plant — well, when we're there we're keeping an eye on it."
About 20 protesters attended the rally.

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