Cape anti-nuke protestors head to court Tuesday

Jury selection begins March 18 for twelve Cape Codders accused of trespassing at Pilgrim
Diane Turco and nine others, arrested last May at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant as they tried to deliver a letter to the owners Entergy. Paul Rifkin photo.

Jury selection begins Tuesday in Plymouth for the twelve Cape Cod members of the anti-nuclear protest group dubbed the "Pilgrim 14".

The protesters were arrested May 20, 2013 and charged with trespassing during a rally at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth. This was the third such protest at the off Cape plant. The twelve Cape Codders heading to trial Tuesday are Diane Turco of Harwich, Sarah Thacher of Dennis, Susan Carpenter of Dennis, Margaret Rice Moir of Brewster, Doug Long of Orleans, Femke Rosenbaum of Wellfleet, Elaine Dickson of Harwich, Paul Rifkin of Cotuit, William Maurer of Falmouth, Janet Azarovitz of Falmouth, Joyce Johnson of Falmouth and Michale Risch of Falmouth.

The group was there to present a letter to an Entergy official.  Entergy is the company that owns and operates the Pilgrim plant. The letter raised concerns about Pilgrim's reactor which is the same make and model as the reactor that failed during the Fukushima disaster.

The four-decade old nuclear power plant has been the focus of scrutiny by several local protest groups for several years.

According to a release from the anti-Pilgrim group Cape Downwinders, during the pretrial hearing last week Judge Beverly Cannone said she will allow witnesses to support the case of the defendants.

Expert witnesses Dr. Gordon Thompson and Dr. Richard Clapp are expected to testify regarding the safety of Pilgrim's spent nuclear fuel stores and the GE Mark 1 reactor.  Duxbury Fire Chief Kevin Nord and State Senator Dan Wolf are also expected to testify.

"With the 2012 relicensing for Entergy to continue operating for another 20 years opposed by Governor Patrick and other public officials due to public health and safety concerns (see letter) and with the Massachusetts Emergency Director Kurt Schwartz telling Cape Codders, 'And the unfortunate reality which is what Fukushima faces today, is that this area may well be closed to anyone for years to come', we look to a jury of our peers to vindicate our concerns for our beloved community and the unacceptable risk for continued operation of Entergy's Pilgrim nuclear power station for profit over public safety," said defendant Diane Turco.

The trial begins Tuesday, March 18 at the Plymouth County Courthouse.

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