By Arlene Williamson, Cape Downwinders
On Tuesday July 9, 2013 very important legislation will be heard at the State House in Boston regarding nuclear safety. Representative James Cantwell from Marshfield, Representative Sarah Peake from Provincetown and Representative Ann Margaret Ferrente will be introducing legislation (H. 1906 and H. 2045) to expand nuclear power plant safety preparedness by the Department of Public Health from 10 miles to 20 miles.
Reasons to expand the Emergency Preparedness Zone (EPZ) to 20-miles include: lessons learned from Fukushima and Chernobyl, severe accidents at spent fuel pools, the threat of terrorism, advanced meteorological understanding and improved understanding of radiation health effects.
The emergency planning zone (EPZ) currently restricted to 10 miles surrounding the nuclear power plant will be expanded to 20 miles and require the same plans for evacuation and sheltering as well as real time radiological monitoring and the distribution of potassium iodide (KI). The expanded EPZ shall include cities and towns located in Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties as well as Cape Ann in Essex County.
Commonwealth has insufficient funds for preparedness
Representative Cantwell's bill (H. 1907) is asking to increase Massachusetts Department of Health's (MDPH) assessment from a maximum $180,000 per annum, to an initial assessment of not less than $400,000 per facility. It addresses the fact that the Commonwealth has insufficient funds to be able to perform its legislatively required monitoring, surveillance and emergency response obligations in communities likely to be affected by emissions from Pilgrim, Vermont Yankee, and Seabrook. The costs associated with these requirements should fall on the owners of the nuclear facilities and not the Commonwealth.
Hearings are scheduled for Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM in room B-2. The State House is located 24 Beacon Street, Boston.