It's Not Over 'Til It's Over
While the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted last week 3-1-1 to relicense the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station for another 20 years, owner Entergy-Louisiana is not out of the woods yet. Governor Patrick called the vote "irresponsible" and U.S. Rep. Markey, U.S. Rep. Keating and state Sen. Dan Wolf weighed in against the decision too. Pilgrim Coalition agrees that Entergy should not have received this license given the unresolved safety and environmental concerns.
The NRC has thumbed its nose at us. We are taking the fight to the state level and urging our state politicians and legislators to stand up to Entergy, an out-of-state corporation making $1 million a day off Massachusetts ratepayers and forcing state taxpayers to foot the bill for their pollution. Get in touch with your legislator and join the fight!
Statements released by legislators and in the media:
Governor Deval Patrick in Boston Herald: NRC's decision "extremely troubling."
Spokesman for Attorney General Martha Coakley in Cape Cod Times: "We intend to continue to raise our concerns through the court process and other appropriate channels."
June 7 Rally: NRC "Safety Orders" Are Nothing But 'Band-Aids' For Pilgrim, Require Further Exploration
The NRC's licensing board is having a hearing in Boston on Thursday June 7 at the McCormack Building, 5 Post Office Square. The hearing concerns NRC orders meant to enhance the safety of U.S. nuclear reactors using lessons learned from the disaster at Fukushima, Japan in March 2011. We feel the NRC's proposals are "band-aids" and inadequate for Pilgrim.
Join us as we gather at 9:15 a.m. with our allies in a media event and public information rally outside the building. Bring a friend, co-worker, or family member, and a sign and join us!
The hearing was requested by coalition member Pilgrim Watch of Duxbury in response to three orders issued by the NRC meant to enhance the safety of U.S. nuclear reactors using lessons learned from the disaster at Fukushima, Japan in March 2011. Pilgrim Watch argues that the orders do not adequately meet concerns about spent fuel pools and containment vents and the ASLB assigned to review the request concluded that the filings raised several issues that require further exploration and an oral argument session.
EPA and DEP AWOL On Entergy's "Scram" and Shut down on May 15
According to Jack Alexander, Entergy's Spokesperson: "Sometimes equipment doesn't operate as you would hope."
This was Alexander's quote in a May 23, 2012 State House News Service story.
Entergy was doing a thermal backwash last week to clean the mussels and other sea life out of the reactor's condensers when the system malfunctioned, resulting in a reactor shut down. Entergy takes in 510 million gallons a day of Cape Cod sea water (and all the plankton and sea life that's in it) and boils it to make electricity. The screens that try to prevent sea life from clogging up the works get so jammed, they have to use superheated water to backwash to prevent "biofouling." How much pollution entered Cape Cod Bay during this "accident" has not yet been disclosed to the public---and Jack Alexander's quote isn't exactly reassuring!
Member in Action: Spotlight on David Agnew
I've had a deep and abiding interest since reading Amory Lovins in '74 and We Almost Lost Detroit in 1975 and Honicker vs Hendrie: A Lawsuit to End Atomic Power in 1976. I was living in New York when Three Mile Island melted and the tension was palpable. I read Dr. John Gofman's Irreverent View of Nuclear Power in '77 and met him the following year while I was helping to produce early Rad Alerts - some of the earliest low-cost, high sensitivity Geiger counters. Much of Gofman's work was an inspiration.
I moved to Cape Cod in May of 1986 beneath the third pass of Chernobyl's plume over this area and immediately joined up with citizen activists working to protect Cape Codders from the Pilgrim reactor - first with Massachusetts Safe Energy Alliance and later with Citizens at Risk: Cape Cod. Some of us formed Cape Downwinders in 2000.
Doesn't Take an Earthquake or Tsunami
This is an important time for Cape Cod. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has voted to relicense Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. But there are real dangers and it is important we keep making our voices heard.
Pilgrim has a GE Mark I boiling water reactor design - as did all four units which self-destructed in Japan. Historically, the chance of one of these self-destructing is 1 in about 8. It doesn't take an earthquake or tsunami to melt down a nuclear power station. Loss of electricity, a fire, terrorist, or even human error is enough.
We have now had four grave nuclear reactor accidents: Windscale in 1957, Three Mile Island in 1979, Chernobyl in 1986, and now Fukushima. Each accident was unique, and each was supposed to be impossible. Each time, we learned little. The question is, will we learn now?
David was one of 14 people arrested May 20 at a Cape Downwinders' demonstration outside Entergy-Louisiana Pilgrim station. The group members were charged with trespassing and return to court for a pre-trial hearing July 11.
|In the News
A few of the many stories from the past week about Entergy-Louisiana, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and the relicensing:
- Federal Official Signs Letter to Relicense Pilgrim. The Boston Globe, May 30, 2012.
- Pilgrim nuclear plant back in service after emergency shutdown. The Patriot Ledger, May 29. 2012.
- Plymouth divided over Pilgrim's license renewal. Activists say says they are "completely outraged," by news of the relicensing. The Boston Globe, May 28, 2012.
- NRC votes to approve new 20-year license for Pilgrim. The five-member NRC voted 3-1 in favor of relicensing, with outgoing chairman Gregory Jaczko the lone dissenting vote.
Business Week, May 25, 2012.
- Audio: Opponent of Pilgrim's license renewal talks about denied contention, vote by NRC Commissioner. Pine duBois, executive director of the Jones River Watershed and a spokesperson for the Pilgrim Coaliton speaks. WATD, May 25, 2012.