In a statement released by the group Cape Cod Bay Watch, the ballot question was the result of a collaborative effort between the local group Concerned Neighbors of Pilgrim (CNP) and the Plymouth Board of Selectmen. The vote demonstrates that Plymouth residents are concerned about the storage of high-level nuclear waste in their town. The hope is that local and state officials can use the result to advocate for Plymouth residents and affect change at the Federal level, as this issue will continue to impact the town in many different ways for many years to come.
"We are incredibly pleased with the result of the Saturday's vote. Plymouth residents have made their collective voices heard. Town officials now know that the overwhelming attitude among voters is for them to work to ensure Pilgrim's nuclear fuel is moved into dry casks quickly and safely. It's a positive step forward," said Heather Lightner, CNP President in the statement.
Pilgrim was originally licensed to store 880 spent fuel assemblies in its spent fuel pool; however, the pool now holds close to 3,500 assemblies. This poses a significant risk of spent fuel pool fire and radioactive release should the closely packed assemblies catch fire due to a loss of water in the spent fuel pool or an interruption in power. Currently Pilgrim's owner, Entergy, only plans to move the minimum number of spent fuel assemblies into dry casks needed to keep operating, meaning the pool could remain overcrowded (about 3,900 assemblies) until 2092 - 60 years after its current operating license expires. Assemblies more than five years out of reactor can, and should be, moved to dry casks.