BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
---- — NEWBURYPORT — State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, and state Rep. Mike Costello, D-Newburyport, yesterday were honored by a nuclear watchdog group for their efforts in advocating for safety for communities living near the Seabrook nuclear plant.
Leaders of the organization, No More Fukushimas, said that they chose March 11 as the date for recognition because it marked the third anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Japan.
“We thank Kathleen and Mike, and every elected official, who has stood up for public safety in regard to Seabrook,” said Bruce Skud, the organization’s co-founder, who bestowed the 2014 Award for Seabrook Safety to both elected officials.
“In holding this ceremony today, we are saying that we remember 150,000 Japanese people whose lives will never be the same because of the Fukushima disaster, and we hope we are not similarly victimized.”
Costello, who was said to be out of town on state business, was unable to be present to receive his award so an aide, Fred Lucey, accepted.
O’Connor Ives was there and said she was appreciative of the recognition. “It is an honor to accept this award,” said O’Connor Ives, who made brief remarks before a gathering of about three dozen at the library, “in part because it draws attention to nuclear issues. The re-licensing process of the plant is on hold because of people like us who are expressing concern about safety at a plant so close to 60,000 Massachusetts residents.
“We need a united front as we continue to work against an operation that is run by a corporation seeking profit.”
O’Connor Ives said that she believes the plant should be shut down, not re-licensed.
Leaders of the group gave each honoree a copy of a book titled, “Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster,” a book by the Union of Concerned Scientists that they said, “will serve as a vivid reminder why you stepped up and called for an immediate shutdown.”