Cape Cod Bay Watch
February 2013
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In This Issue:
Pilgrim Forced to Closed During Storm
Nuclear Safety to be the Focus at March 18th Trial
Upcoming Events
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State regulators are not protecting Cape Cod Bay from Entergy's destructive operations at Pilgrim. Our environmental laws should be enforced so that Entergy's operations don't continue to destroy marine life in the bay. 
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Cape Cod Bay Watch is dedicated to protecting the species, habitats, and health of Cape Cod Bay.
Pilgrim Forced to Close During Historic Winter Storm; Highlights Risks

 

Entergy's Pilgrim nuclear reactor is located in the coastal zone, making it extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels, extreme weather events and associated high winds, marine debris, flooding and tidal surges. Like Hurricane Sandy, the Blizzard of 2013 underlined these concerns. One recent study says that 6% of Boston could have been flooded had Sandy impacted the city at high tide - a miss by a mere 5 hours. Imagine that impact on Plymouth and Pilgrim.

 

Pilgrim
Pilgrim is located in the coastal zone, making it extremely vulnerable to a variety of problems associated with climate change, sea level rise and storms. Source: USGS

 

Our region has historically experienced its share of Nor'easters, however the difference today is that climate change is part of the equation. It wasn't a concern 40 years ago when Pilgrim went online. Storms are becoming more intense and more frequent and sea levels are rising (they are predicted to rise up to 6 feet by 2100!), meaning storm surges will reach further inland and be more destructive as time goes on. 

The Boston Harbor Association recently released a new report, which outlines what climate change and sea level rise means for Boston.

 

So why is CCBW so concerned about flooding and sea level rise? In addition to considering impacts to public safety and health, property values, businesses, infrastructure, and the environment, flooding will likely impact Pilgrim's operations - adding a whole other level of risk to residents in our region. Just the cost alone is cause for concern - the damage estimate from Sandy cost New York $50 billion! And that was without a nuclear disaster.

 

flood map 2
Storm surge and coastal flooding risk map from the NWS in Boston on Feb. 8, 2013.  Source: NOAA/NWS  To enlarge image, click here >>

 

Even when Pilgrim shuts down due to loss of power, it still needs electricity to operate the backup generators and pumps to constantly pump in water to cool the reactor and spent fuel pool.  If pumps fail, overheating can occur. For example, the heat generated from the spent fuel rods could boil and evaporate the water in the pool, exposing the spent fuel rods to air and lead to fire and explosions.

 

During the Fukushima disaster, where the same Mark I reactor type was involved, the plant lost outside power when the earthquake hit and its backup generators took over. The plant made it through the earthquake relatively unscathed. It was only when the backup generators and pumps became flooded that the meltdown ultimately resulted, since there was no way to keep the reactors and spent fuel pools cooled.

 

These recent storms also highlight why the town of Plymouth needs to closely evaluate Entergy's ongoing construction of the dry cask storage area for nuclear waste. Storing high level nuclear waste in an area extremely close to shore and below a safe elevation is a major concern. Read more about this issue here >> 

 

flood map
Map showing a 100-year storm surge (i.e., a flood that has a 1% likelihood of occurring or being exceeded in a given year) at high tide when sea levels are 2.5 ft higher. Current predictions estimate this could happen as soon as 2050. Flood depths in the city are up to 7.5 ft. Source:
Nuclear Safety Issues at Pilgrim to be Focus of March 18th Trial 

Last May, fourteen activists - dubbed the "Pilgrim 14" - were arrested on criminal trespass charges at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. The arrests happened after they attempted to deliver a letter to Entergy outlining the dangers Pilgrim poses to public health and the environment. The activists will be going to trial in Plymouth Superior Court on March 18th. 
 
The risk of a nuclear catastrophe and Pilgrim's ongoing releases of radioactive materials into the environment are also of concern to CCBW. We are working with our allies to bring attention to this issue.
 
To follow this issue, visit the Cape Downwinders blog >> 
Upcoming Events:  

 

Save Our Bay Flotilla - Save the Date!  
CCBW is joining its allies to host the Save Our Bay Flotilla - an on-the-water rally to bring attention to water pollution issues in the bay caused by Pilgrim. The event has been scheduled for Sunday, June 9, 2013 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Please join us, by land or sea, to help raise awareness of the issues the need for Entergy to clean up its act. Visit capecodbaywatch.org for details as the plans proceed. 


"Plug-in" Workshop - In Review  

The Plug-In workshop, hosted by the Pilgrim Coalition on February 6th, was a great success!  Over 60 individuals attended and learned about ways to get involved. The coalition - CCBW included - now has a host of new volunteers helping with a variety of projects. To see photos from the event, click here >>

Mardi Gras with JRL - Rescheduled  
Due to the blizzardthe Jones River Landing's annual Mardi Gras party was cancelled and will likely be rescheduled to April 20th. For more information, click here >> 
 
  
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