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Activists mobilize on nuclear power proposals via Cape Cod Times

Subsidies, energy credits could benefit aging plants such as Pilgrim.

PLYMOUTH — Watchdogs are being vigilant on two fronts this week, as state and federal agencies consider regulations that could benefit the aging and trouble-plagued Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.

Public comment ended Monday on the U.S. Department of Energy’s proposal to bail out nuclear reactors and coal plants nationwide with subsidies, and hearings were being held this week on a possible expansion of state standards that could qualify older nuclear plants for clean energy credits.

The rationale behind the proposed federal regulations is that coal and nuclear power, which cannot compete in the marketplace with sources such as natural gas, wind and hydropower, should be compensated for their reliability.

The proposed rule would require customers to pay coal and nuclear plants for all their expenses plus a profit, to keep them churning out power.


Local activist Mary Lampert, director of Pilgrim Watch, voiced her opposition in comments to federal regulators and to the Times. “The game for nukes used to be ‘We don’t produce carbon,’” Lampert said. “Now their game has switched to reliability.”

Lampert called the federal proposal “outrageous.”

“The winners would be the dirtiest fuel source — coal — and the least safe — nuclear,” Lampert said. “And the losers would be the type of energy generators that are the wave of the future.”


Janet Azarowitz, a Falmouth resident and member of the Pilgrim Legislative Advisory Coalition, said she has submitted written comments of her own to the Department of Environmental Protection opposing any provision changes that would allow Pilgrim to pick up energy credits. Her coalition also has submitted comments, Azarowitz said.

“We certainly don’t want Pilgrim included in any energy credits,” she said. She called the state’s decision to look at expanding the newly adopted clean energy standards “kind of scary.”

Even though Entergy has repeatedly said it will close Pilgrim in 2019, “I don’t trust them,” Azarowitz said. Entergy’s Fitzpatrick nuclear plant in New York was slated to close, but the state’s decision to bolster the plant with subsidies kept it online, she said.

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