The Board of Selectmen is supporting a plan to spend $18,000 to install a monitor to measure radiation in the air from an emission from the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth.
Residents will weigh in on whether they want to spend this money, as it is a warrant article at the annual town meeting upcoming in March. It is being sponsored by the Duxbury Nuclear Advisory Committee and the Duxbury Emergency Management Agency, led by fire chief Kevin Nord.
Committee chairman Mary Lampert explained to selectmen Monday that if the town agrees to purchase a real-time radiological air monitoring station, then the Massachusetts Department of Public Health would install, operate and maintain it. The monitoring station will cost $16,468 and $2,000 to install, according to Lampert.
“That’s $5 to $6 per family,” said Lampert.
In 2011, the town passed a resolution supporting a system of real-time monitors to measure airborne radionuclide emissions from Pilgrim as well as meteorological data. Lampert calls the current system, which has 12 monitors located within one to one and a half miles from Pilgrim’s reactor, “a start,” but says more monitors must be added in a variety of locations to give emergency planners accurate information.
“If the wind is blowing from Pilgrim toward Duxbury, no one will know what radiation that wind is bringing to Duxbury,” said Lampert.
Lampert said the DPH plans to move three monitors further from Pilgrim, to Colony Place off Route 44, downtown Plymouth and the Gurnet, but it does not have the resources to install one in Duxbury.
“This doesn’t do it for us,” said Lampert. “What do we have? The answer is really nothing. The DPH says it has no money. We decided what if we come up with the $18,000 for one in Duxbury? Is it worth the $5 or $6 per household? I think so.”
“It sounds like a modest amount,” said Selectman Shawn Dahlen, who, with, Selectman David Madigan, voted in support of the article. Funds for the monitor will come from the town’s free cash account.