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|Selectmen refuse to approve nuclear emergency plan|
|Written by Gillian Smith|
|Wednesday, 11 September 2013 10:36|
This week, selectmen approved revisions to Duxbury’s nuclear disaster emergency plan presented to them by Fire Chief Kevin Nord; however they did not approve the entire plan because it lacks key items required to keep Duxbury citizens safe during a radiological emergency.
Selectmen have taken similar action in the past – approving changes Duxbury has made to the plan at the recommenda- tion of Nord and the Duxbury nuclear advisory committee, but refusing to sign off on the plan because Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency won’t agree to some of the requested changes.
One of the changes Nord suggested and that selectmen supported was removing the formal responsibility from Duxbury for the safety and welfare of the people on theSaquish and Gurnet areas and
those on Clark’s Island – all of which are located in Plymouth. Nord said Duxbury will assist Plymouth in the event of an emergency but that it can no longer be formally responsible for these non-residents.
“I don’t think we can do it,” he said. “Plymouth has their plan. It’s their responsibility.”
The revised plan also contains new emergency op- erating procedures for Camp Wing, the recreation depart- ment camps and the Village at Duxbury. It requires MEMA to be the organization that is responsible for notifying schools outside of town that have Dux- bury children attending them that these students can not return to town during a nuclear emergency.
Nord also included a provision that the Duxbury po- lice can “implement local gas station protocol,” meaning they can commandeer the gas pumps at local stations to maintain order during an emergency.
The plan was also updated to reflect the relocation of the public safety dispatchers from the old police station to the main fire station.
Some of Duxbury's recommendations rejected by MEMA include adding another radiological emergency worker monitor decontamination station (currently, there is only one of these stations, in Carver); changing the location of the host facility, and providing monitoring and decontamination for Duxbury's entire population.
Duxbury Nuclear Advisory Committee co-chair Mary "Pixie" Lampert said he committee wants all Duxbury school children to be monitored for radioactivity before they are sent to the host facility in Braintree, "but they (MEMA) refuse to do that," she said. The committee also wants a host facility that can accommodate 100 percent of Duxbury resident and monitor them all for contamination. Lampert said Braintree cannot do that. "There are still only four portal monitors at Braintree and that's insufficient for the population of Duxbury and part of Marshfield," she said.
The Nuclear Advisory Committee has been fighting to include some of these changes in the emergency plan for years. For example, in 2004, the committee was looking for the state's support to automatically monitor all Duxbury residents for contamination at the reception center and to make sure the center could hold the entire town's population. That year, Duxbury selectmen wrote a letter to MEMA outlining their concerns about these issues. Almost 10 years later, these provisions still have no gained MEMA's approval
By asking the selectmen to not approve the plan, "we are trying to provide an impetus for change," Lampert explained.
Lampert said Kingston officials do not approve their nuclear emergency plan annually for the same reason.