Bowles urges more monitoring

In letter, environmental official qualifies earlier support for relicensing

The state’s top environmental official today released a letter he sent to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station urging officials there to enhance air and water monitoring efforts. (See below, or get a PDF of the letter.)

The letter from Ian Bowles, the secretary of energy and the environment, was dated April 29, the same day CommonWealth reported that Bowles spent half a day at Pilgrim on April 1 and came away satisfied with its environmental monitoring and supportive of its relicensing.

“I felt comfortable following my trip down there,” Bowles told CommonWealth during a wide-ranging interview on energy and environmental issues. “On the basis of the assurances that I got when I was there, I’m comfortable with them being relicensed.”

In his letter, Bowles says he is confident the Pilgrim relicensing process will move forward but doesn’t specifically say he supports relicensing. He also suggests other measures may need to be taken in the wake of leaks of radioactive tritium at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, which is owned by Entergy Corp., the same company that owns Pilgrim.

“The leaks at Vermont Yankee raise questions as to whether Pilgrim’s leak prevent program is adequate, and whether the planned installation of six additional monitoring wells is sufficient,” Bowles writes.

Bowles urges Pilgrim officials to consider enhancements to the groundwater monitoring program and its off-site air monitoring program. He also encourages Entergy “to consider whether Pilgrim’s extensive buried metal piping should be better protected from corrosion.”

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.