Mary has digested draft after draft of NRC rules and regulations and provided detailed comments to demonstrate how the rules should be amended in order to better protect our family’s health and safety. Self-taught, Mary has learned how to legally challenge shortfalls relating to emergency planning, security and continued operation of aging reactors in Massachusetts.
On a local level, Mary has chaired the town-appointed Duxbury Nuclear Advisory Committee for almost two decades. The committee reviews the town’s nuclear emergency plans and standard operating procedures annually; makes recommendations for changes required to better protect our citizens; and advises the Selectmen not to approve the plan and procedures until the changes are incorporated. For example, she has fought for over two decades to assure that all children, if evacuated due to a nuclear emergency, go first to the Reception Center for monitoring and decontamination, if required, before being sent to a Host facility. The sooner contamination is identified and cleaned off, the better the prognosis.
The Duxbury Nuclear Advisory Committee also advises on other nuclear safety related matters as they arise. Their most successful strategy is to bring articles before Annual Town Meetings. It raises awareness and sends a message to state and federal officials. As a consequence of the committee’s work, the Town of Duxbury is a national model. For example, Duxbury was the first in the nation to stockpile potassium iodide, KI, in schools and group homes and establish an on-going public education campaign. In a nuclear disaster, radioactive iodine is released and goes immediately to the thyroid causing thyroid cancer and growth disorders in small children. Children are the most vulnerable. If KI, an over-the-counter medication, is taken before or shortly after exposure, the thyroid is saturated with a harmless form of iodine so that there is no room for the dangerous radioactive iodine and it will be harmlessly excreted. The committee did this in 2000, four years before KI was federally mandated.
Likewise, Duxbury accumulated face masks in schools and group homes to be used in the event of a radiological disaster. Face masks come in child sizes and are important to prevent our children from inhaling dangerous radioactivity during a disaster when they are directed to shelter or evacuate. Duxbury also had evacuation signs posted on our roadways to point the way “out of Dodge” if an evacuation is ordered.
On a state level, Mary led successful campaigns to garner potassium iodide in Massachusetts and to stop the search for a so-called low-level radioactive waste site in the state. No family would welcome radioactive waste trucks going through their neighborhoods. Lastly, Mary testifies annually at the State House on nuclear related legislation.
For updates on Mary’s work please visit: