January 2015
In This Issue...
Our Members

First Parish UU Church, 
Social Justice & 
Action Committees:

Happy New Year! Raise your glass to a radioactive-free future.
Sometimes there IS reason to celebrate. Vermont Yankee nuclear power station officially closed on Dec 29th. While there are still years of decommissioning and waste management ahead, the fact that the facility is no longer producing radioactive waste is a step in the right direction. Please join our efforts to make sure that Pilgrim is next. In its current state, it is arguably the biggest threat to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and bordering New England states.

Read the National Geographic article on the subject here:

Another Reactor Closes, Punctuating New Reality for U.S. Nuclear Power
As Vermont Yankee shuts down, the U.S. has yet to address industry issues that span decades.

Pilgrim plant owner to begin moving radioactive fuel rods  by Christine Legere, Cape Cod Times - January 3, 2015
Upcoming Events:
1/29:  Presentation: Living in the Shadow of a Nuclear Power Plant
Thursday, January 29, 7-8:30 pm
South Shore Science Center
48 Jacobs Lane, Norwell, MA

Come learn simple steps you can take to help decrease your risk should a radiological emergency occur at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. 
  • Do you have potassium iodide (KI) tablets at home to protect your thyroid?
  • Did you know young children and pregnant women face the highest risk from radiation? 
  • Do you know where you should take shelter in the event of a nuclear emergency? 
  • Do you know whether your town has an emergency evacuation plan? 
  • Did you know there are proactive measures you can take to help reduce your community's risk? 
Come hear a brief presentation, join the discussion and ask questions. Download and share the event flyer →

Heather Lightner, RN, is a nurse in Plymouth, and President of Concerned Neighbors of Pilgrim, a local, grassroots citizens' organization focused on safer storage of spent nuclear fuel at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. She is also a new member of the Town of Plymouth's Nuclear Matters Committee. 

Anna Baker is a Co-Founder of the Pilgrim Coalition, a nonprofit coalition of citizens and organizations (including the Sierra Club, Clean Water Fund and MassPIRG) 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 in Plymouth, MA. Anna has a Master's degree in Public Health.
2/9 & 2/10:  Public Hearing: DEP Clean Energy Standard
On January 5, 2015, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection sent out proposed language on a Clean Energy Standard for the state, and it doesn't look good. It appears they are only using CO2 emissions to define what generation qualifies as clean, rather than actual "clean" energy. In other words, nuclear will be considered "green."

Outraged? So are we. Please attend one of these two public hearings to speak up and ensure these standards don't get passed.

Monday, February 9, 1:00 pm
MassDEP Headquarters
1 Winter Street, Boston, MA
(617) 292-5500

Tuesday, February 10, 1:00 pm
MassDEP Central Regional Office
8 New Bond Street, Worcester, MA
(508) 792-7650

Testimony may be presented orally or in writing at the public hearing. Written comments also will be accepted until February 20, 2015. Written testimony must be submitted by email or mail to: climate.strategies@state.ma.us

Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Waste Prevention
Attn: Will Space
1 Winter Street, 7th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

A copy of the proposed regulations and background information is available on MassDEP's website (http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/news/comment/) →
Pilgrim Coalition Steering Committee member, Diane Turco, also affiliated with the Cape Downwinders, on the fuel transfer beginning this month:
Because Entergy Corporation needs to have room in the spent fuel pool in the event of an emergency that would require removal of the fuel from the core, the amount in the densely packed pool must be reduced for refueling (this spring) in order for the continued operation of Pilgrim. What is outrageous about this move is that in 2006, Dr. Gordon Thompson completed a report for the MA Attorney General's Office (before re-licensing) which identified the densely packed fuel pool as an imminent safety danger.

Most of you know that the original design of the pool was for temporary storage of up to 880 assemblies but as the federal government did not come up with a repository, the nuclear industry kept chugging along, producing this most toxic waste that remains so for generations. The NRC, in its long standing support to promote the nuclear industry, has allowed multiple increases of waste in the fuel pool to the current level of 3,849. That the NRC cried 'uncle' at this level pushes the Louisiana based company to turn America's home town into a nuclear waste dump right on Cape Cod Bay. Never mind that an AGO report in 2006 clearly stated the dangers of the overcrowding and densely racked pool.  

Due to public safety concerns, the recommendations from that report to reduce the waste back to the original fuel pool design of 880 should have been implemented. With documented catastrophic consequences of a fuel pool fire at 24,000 latent cancers, $488 billion in damages, and hundreds of miles downwind contaminated, once again, profit trumps public safety. Entergy Corp. is only removing the fuel so they can continue operating, not to make an overcrowded pool more safe.

A Louisiana corporation is making America's hometown a nuclear waste dump. Outrageous, and criminal, indeed! Public safety first. Stop producing the waste. Close Pilgrim NOW!

- Diane Turco
Pilgrim Nuclear in Plymouth to move spent fuel into dry cask storage  by Michael Norton, State House News Service - January 2, 2015
How about an extra dose of radiation on your families for the New Year? Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is transferring fuel for a couple of weeks, so get ready. Although no level of radiation is deemed healthy by health experts, apparently this is "acceptable" according to the Nuclear Regulatory Agency.

(Painting by Andrea Kalajian)
Opponents of emergency cooling system overflow Mayflower Meeting Room   by Frank Mand, OCM - November 23, 2014
PLYMOUTH - Opponents of a plan to create a new emergency cooling system at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station crowded the Mayflower Room at Town Hall Tuesday morning, barely able to hide their disdain for what they called the "Rube Goldberg" plan and the plant.

The meeting was a formal public hearing on Entergy's request for a state permit for two moorings that will be used as part of a system that would allow the plant to pump ocean water into the reactor in the event of a loss of all onsite and offsite power.

In response to the lessons learned after the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster in Japan in 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) established what it calls a FLEX strategy, requiring plant owners to devise backup systems that rely on portable equipment.

The FLEX strategy also allows plants to devise backup systems that are site-specific, ensuring that each plant can respond to extreme events that have a greater probability of occurring locally.

That, in part, is how Pilgrim came to devise the emergency cooling backup system in question, opening it up to criticism that the plan is unproven and dangerous and was selected because it was "the least expensive option."

The public hearing formally began with Entergy stating that the moorings and associated equipment would have a minimal environmental impact and only be used in the unlikely circumstance that there is a "beyond design basis event," such as an earthquake, tornado or extreme hurricane.

The system would be employed only if other backup systems were offline, and would only be in place for a limited time.

Entergy's comments were then followed by an almost unrelenting verbal assault on the plan.

Jones River Watershed Association Executive Director Pine duBois took issue with the data that Entergy presented, and suggested that the pumping system envisioned would not be able to withstand the pounding of the surf that is normally associated with severe winter storms in this area.

Falmouth resident and Cape Downwinder member Bill Maurer said that the proposed system could result in irradiated water flowing back into the Bay, and showed images of the hose and strainer that Entergy plans to purchase being deployed in a pond.

"It's a joke of a system," Pilgrim Watch founder Mary Lampert testified, "that won't give us what we really need in an accident where there is a loss of coolant.

"The system proposed," Lampert said, "is something to be used for bringing dinghies ashore, not something to be used in case of a nuclear disaster."

Cape Downwinder member Diane Turco, who was recently found guilty of trespassing at the plant last Mother's Day, said the FLEX proposal for Pilgrim is too little, too late.

"We need to prevent these events from happening," Turco said. "We don't need this system. We need for Pilgrim to be shut down."

Elaine Dickinson, another Cape Cod resident attending the meeting, rhetorically asked, "This is the best fix you can come up with?" She then said Entergy places profits over safety. Plymouth resident Meg Sheehan brought the discussion back to the criteria that the DEP may use to make a decision, specifically whether the requested moorings serve a public purpose.

"They do not," Sheehan said emphatically, then suggested there are still questions about what would happen to the ocean water once it is used to cool the reactor.

Sheehan showed images of firefighters and fire boats spraying the Fukushima-Daiichi plant with water from hoses, suggesting that in the Japanese disaster much of the water used to try and cool reactor buildings immediately following the tsunami was simply allowed to flow back into the ground and into the ocean.

"Until they show where the water is going to go," Sheehan said, "the moorings have no proper public focus."

After two hours of public comment, DEP officials ended the hearing, noting that written comments would be accepted during the 20 days after the hearing.

Later that day, Entergy Senior Communications Specialist Lauren Burm addressed the criticisms of the plan, one by one. It's not a cheap fix, Burm insisted.

"The moorings and intake system are one of several options available to the plant to bring water to the reactor in the event of loss of all onsite and offsite power," she said. "Pilgrim has invested tens of millions of dollars in FLEX-related equipment and upgrades, all of which are designed to increase plant safety and provide additional redundancy to existing back-up systems." Burm also explained why Entergy thinks the system would not be dangerous to those designated to implement it, or to the Bay.
Pilgrim Nuclear's flawed FLEX plan   
by Bill Maurer, Old Colony Memorial - December 5, 2014
"The mooring method of bringing water to the plant would only be used if it could be deployed safely," Burm said. "Other alternative water sources could be used if weather conditions prevented safe operation of the mooring intake system. 

"The assertion that there would be radiation added to water in the Bay from this system is completely false," Burm said. "None of the water from the system would be irradiated and returned to the Bay." 

Burm said the term she would use to describe this application of the FLEX strategy, is innovative, not experimental. "It is a more robust version of similar standard designs. The mooring system is one of five options available to bring water to the reactor."

Opinion: Pilgrim Station's Cyber Security Plan   
by Lt. Col. (retired) Brian F. Sullivan - January 3, 2015
If the recent hacking attack on Sony hasn't grabbed your attention, it should, especially if you live in Plymouth or close to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

Read the full article (Wicked Local) →
Do you want to know what is in store for Pilgrim if we don't think ahead to decommissioning? Take a look at what's happening with the Vermont Yankee plant...
Entergy wants to tap money for emergency response from Vermont Yankee decommissioning fund   by John Herrick, VTDigger - November 2014
The state and Entergy continue to disagree on how to pay the cost of decommissioning the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

Entergy, the Louisiana-based owner of the Vernon plant, plans to shut it down by the end of the year for economic reasons. The company is now seeking permission from federal regulators to eliminate off-site emergency response planning about 15 months after the reactor stops turning.

By April 2016, the spent fuel in a cooling pool will have decayed to a level that safely allows the company to reduce off-site emergency planning activities, according to Entergy's petition with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

But the state wants to ensure that off-site emergency planning remains adequate until all the spent nuclear fuel is moved from a cooling pool and into long-term dry casks, which Entergy plans to complete by 2020.

The company plans to recover the cost of emergency planning from a special fund designed to pay for the decommissioning process after the plant shuts down. The company will begin to decommission the plant only when the fund accumulates enough money to cover the entire cost, which the company estimates at $1.24 billion. There is about $642 million in the fund now.

Longterm emergency planning will drain more money from the fund and delay the process of decommissioning, which is already estimated to take at least two decades.

Volunteer Opportunities
The Pilgrim Coalition is always looking for more volunteers to help the cause. If you're interested, please contact us:   pilgrimcoalition@gmail.com
See what's happening online: www.pilgrimcoalition.org/calendar

Our member groups are always hosting events, gatherings, and forums for the public. 
We invite you to join us-come out and have some fun and find out what's going on!

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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.

Make a Donation >>  Help us grow by making a secure, tax-deductible donation online today. Checks can also be made out to the Pilgrim Coalition and sent to us at c/o Jones River Watershed Association, 55 Landing Road, Kingston, MA 02332.

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