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    14 face charges after protest at Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth

    Fourteen anti-nuclear activists are facing trespassing charges after demonstrating against the relicensing of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, police said today.

    “There was a scheduled picketing demonstration and the organizers were given an area where they could picket,” said Plymouth Police Lieutenant Victor Higgins. “Fourteen individuals, after they were warned not to encroach upon an area, continued to walk in the area, and they were placed in custody for trespassing.”

    Among those arrested Sunday afternoon was Paul Rifkin, 70, of Cotuit, who is involved with the Cape Downwinders group, which opposes the relicensing of the nuclear station.


    “A group of us passed through a gate that we were told not to pass through and we were then told that we were trespassing,” Rifkin said. “We attempted to deliver a letter, but the Entergy officials there refused to accept it and they told us that if we didn’t get off their property, they would arrest us. Fourteen of us did not get off and we were taken away.”

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    Entergy Corp., the Louisiana-based company that has run the plant since 1999, has sparked a host of protests and lawsuits since it sought to renew its license to operate the plant for an additional 20 years.

    “We believe the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is a dangerous entity and deserves not to be relicensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” Rifkin said. “It is an old plant and the design of the plant is the exact same as the one that blew up in Fukushima. The possibility and likelihood of that happening here with a 40-year-old plant has become unacceptable.”

    Rifkin, who said he has been arrested for civil disobedience in the past, said the arrested demonstrators ranged in age from 58 to 82 years old, and they were arraigned this afternoon. As a condition of their release, the demonstrators were told to stay away from all Entergy Corp. property between now and their next court date.

    A spokesman for Entergy Corp. did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

    Colin A. Young can be reached at