Blizzard Nemo Knocks Out Pilgrim; NRC Ignores Activists' Request to Close It Down Before Storm
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station declared an emergency when it lost offsite power last Friday night, Feb. 8 as the historic winter storm hit Plymouth head-on. Pilgrim went back on line on Sunday morning, but then had to shut down again. It was restored Tuesday night, according to the Cape Cod Times
Neither Entergy nor the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have explained the cause of the second shut down. See the NRC blog.
Before the storm hit, after receiving information from the National Weather Service about the predictions of prolonged power outages and coastal flooding in Plymouth, local groups asked the NRC to order Entergy to close Pilgrim before the emergency struck. See media release. The NRC declined to act and let Pilgrim continue to run as the storm approached.
The reactor core at Pilgrim contains nuclear waste in fuel assemblies that are cooled by water circulated using electrically powered pumps that get power from the grid. If the water in the pool evaporates, there would be a pool fire and explosion that would release massive amounts of radiation. As of Tuesday, it was over 72 hours since the second time Pilgrim closed, and Entergy was relying on back-up generators to keep the waste fuel pool cooled.
Pilgrim is past its design life and suffers frequent mechanical failures. When Nemo hit, Pilgrim was operating at only 83 % and had shut down January 21 due a leak associated with a safety relief valve.
Entergy, which provides power to the Superdome in New Orleans, could not even keep the lights on during the SuperBowl. Given the history of mechanical failures at its aging, 40-year-old Pilgrim nuclear reactor, can we really trust Entergy to keep us safe using back up generators in a storm?
Find out more and get involved. www.pilgrimcoalition.org
Lawmakers Act to Protect Region By Filing Bills
|From top right: Rep. James Cantwell, D-Marshfield: Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, D-Gloucester; Bottom left: Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown; Sen. Dan Wolf, D-Harwich|
Local lawmakers are listening to their constituents who are concerned about safety, environmental and health risks related to nuclear power plants. In January, four lawmakers filed important bills.
Proposed bills would increase the protections around a nuclear power plants to 20 miles, assess power companies $400,000 per reactor to fund a radiation control program and develop emergency response plans.
Cape Downwinders Initiates Local Ballot Initiative
Cape Downwinders has initiated a municipal public advisory ballot question campaign for all Cape Cod towns. The campaign calls on Governor Deval Patrick to request that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shut down the Pilgrim reactor because public safety cannot be assured. As a first step, Cape Downwinders are collecting 10 registered voter signatures in each community to ask the local Board of Selectmen to put the campaign question on the spring ballot.
Brewster Board of Selectmen: Passed.
Next Week: Wellfleet, Harwich and Dennis boards discuss the measure.
Follow Our Members' Blogs and Social Media
We have 18 member groups who have a lot to say! Check out some of their social media sites.
This is not a comprehensive list. We will share more opportunities to connect in coming months.
Jones River Watershed
Cape Cod Bay Watch
Trial Date Set for Pilgrim 14
The "Pilgrim 14" are scheduled to stand trial March 18 in Plymouth District Court. Group members - who received their trial date when they appeared in court this week - were arrested May 20 at a rally and demonstration outside Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. The demonstration had gathered to protest the relicensing application of plant owner/operator Entergy. Group members had attempted to deliver Entergy officials a letter and were charged with trespassing. They cooperated with police.
A few days later, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved the relicensing application while the Pilgrim 14's case began moving through the court. Trial was scheduled this week during one of the final pre-trial proceedings.
At trial, the defendants intend to use the "competing harms" or "necessity" defense, while the prosecution argues that the acknowledged intention of the Pilgrim 14 is putting "Entergy on trial" and does not satisfy the legal requirements to advance a "necessity" defense.
Expected expert witnesses for the defense include Pulitzer Prize winning author Christopher Hedges, and Dr. Helen Caldicott, renowned physician and scholar, who will describe the health dangers of this nuclear facility.
Trial Date: March 18, 2013
Time: 9:00 am
Place: Plymouth District Court
52 Obery Street
Plymouth, MA 02360
Big Turnout for Feb. 6 Plug-In Event
Follow Up Event March 20
A big thank you to everyone who turned out for our Plug-In Event on Feb. 6. It showed so many of you care about protecting our communities from the environmental and safety hazards posed by Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant's ongoing operation. There are many ways to help the cause and now that we have learned some of your skills, we will be reaching out to you.
Did you miss the event? We have another gathering scheduled for March 20 at the Plymouth Public Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
|About the Pilgrim Coalition. We are a non-partisan network of citizens and organizations dedicated to raising awareness of - and reducing - significant risks to public safety, health and our environment arising from the continued operation of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, located in Plymouth, Massachusetts.|