Failed Oversight at Pilgrim
To the editor:
Christine Legere’s article on dangerous waste stored at Pilgrim provided citizens with important information [“United on Shutting Pilgrim, Advocates Differ on Nuclear Waste,” April 1, front page].
The greed of the nuclear industry, coupled with the failure of the federal government to locate a deep geological repository, keeps our communities at risk. The Yucca Mountain plan offered false hope of a remedy. By touting Yucca as the answer, the nuclear industry was free to keep making dangerous waste. Yucca was a big lie.
Holtec Centralized Interim Storage in New Mexico is another false answer to waste storage. Holtec states on its website it has “tremendous state and local support,” yet New Mexico Gov. Michelle Grisham, the attorney general, Pueblo governors, and citizen groups reject its proposal. Just this past week, New Mexico filed suit against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Pilgrim is a de facto high-level nuclear waste dump that may remain here indefinitely. There are over 1,500 fuel assemblies still in the waste pool. Emergency plans cover only the Holtec property, as if there is no environmental threat from the degrading spent fuel pool.
The open-air storage pad will hold 61 canisters, each containing more than half the cesium released at Chernobyl. Holtec is buying its own canisters, which fail to meet American Society for Mechanical Engineers safety standards. These substandard cans do not support monitored retrievable waste, as mandated by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. As we witnessed when Pilgrim was operating, the NRC violated its own safety standards by providing exemptions to regulations. The same failed federal oversight is happening with Holtec, a company known for corruption and bribery.
Environmental justice requirements must be enforced. Either in New Mexico, along the rails, or here, we are all still a sacrifice zone to the nuclear industry.
The writer is director of the Cape Downwinders.
On the Lack of Candidates
To the editor:
As a young person with ambitions to work for the benefit of my community, I am disappointed by the negativity often directed at town officials and employees. Kathleen Bacon is right to suggest that it factors into why no one wants to step up for Wellfleet select board [“Select Board Spot Attracts No Candidates,” April 1, front page].
I wish I felt confident enough to serve on a board or committee, as I am passionate and willing. But I feel discouraged. My generation is already fighting against all odds to be able to live here, let alone become a positive force for change through municipal government.
While the long hours and minimal stipend do not entice people to these positions, they are no more of a deterrent than the immature and apathetic behavior town employees and officials are subjected to.
We have reached a point where the progress and stability of our local government are being hindered. Citizens have the right to voice their opinions and be heard, but, if they truly care, they should be ready to work with others towards shared goals.
Losing Our Character
To the editor:
I’ve driven down Lecount Hollow Road countless times and never paid much attention to the former railroad bed until now. Now it looks like an extension of the Mass Pike is under construction.
Richard Blakeley, who has been farming clams and oysters here since the 1980s, being fenced out of the use of his shellfish shed by the construction of the Rail Trail extension is just another example of this town losing more of its character.
Everyone should read Marnie Samuelson’s article on Richard Blakeley, “I’m Still Moving,” published in this newspaper on Oct. 15, 2020. Better yet, listen to Richard in his own words, which begin: “I’ve run over a few tides in my lifetime. So, I’m pretty broke up. My hands are arthritic. My back is arthritic, but I want to keep moving. Gotta keep moving.”
That article and taped interview should be archived by the Wellfleet Historical Society. Way in the future, it will be another reminder of just how distinctive this seaside town once was.
Good luck, Richard!