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Volunteer Opportunities

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Our Members

Pilgrim Coalition is planning a
Decommissioning Forum in March 2016 with very special guest speakers - more details to come in our next newsletter.
Entergy will pull the plug on Pilgrim by 2019, activists say not soon enough   by Arlene Williamson
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station - NRC file photo
On October 13th, Entergy made the announcement we have all been longing to hear - that Pilgrim will be closing. The excitement lasted for a brief minute until they mentioned a closing date by June 2019.

Entergy Corporation cited poor market conditions, reduced revenues and increased operational costs are the cause for their decision to close Pilgrim.

According to Entergy, the exact timing of the shutdown will depend on several factors, including further discussion with ISO-New England, and will be decided in the first half of 2016.

The announcement came a month after the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to degrade Pilgrim to category 4, the final category before NRC mandatory shut down. The company estimates it will cost between $45 million and $60 million to comply with the increased inspections required by the regulatory commission. Entergy may have to spend more to address any significant issues that arise from the inspections at Pilgrim, the site of a series of unplanned shutdowns in recent years.

Opponents of Pilgrim, who have long protested the plant's safety record voiced concerns that Pilgrim will continue operating for several more years. "They should shut down now, saving them money and us peace of mind," said Mary Lampert, director of Pilgrim Watch, a Duxbury group that has been keeping a watchful eye on Pilgrim for years.

Senator Edward J. Markey, another longtime critic, called Entergy's decision prudent. "While nuclear energy was once advertised as being too cheap to meter, it is increasingly clear that it is actually too expensive to matter,'' he said in a statement. "The remaining period of operation of Pilgrim needs to be with the utmost attention to safety and security.''

Bill Mohl, President at Entergy Wholesale Commodities, stated at the press conference "the company plans to cut half of its work force when the facility closes." Mohl added Entergy is faced with the "harsh reality" that Pilgrim will lose about $40 million a year until it closes.

Some neighbors in Plymouth worry about the prospect of nuclear waste remaining at the plant for years to come. "What has happened is that a bad dream is turning into a nightmare," said Jeff Berger, chairman of a Plymouth's Nuclear Matters Committee. "The plant is going to have a lot fewer people guarding a lot of nuclear waste, and that's a real concern."

Source quoted: Some welcome Pilgrim closure, utility workers call for plant to stay open (by David Abel and Peter Schworm, Boston Globe)
Senate Bills S.1797 & S.1798 Scheduled for Hearing
A public hearing and testimony regarding Dan Wolf's Bill S.1797 (fee on spent fuel) and Bill S.1798 (decommissioning) is scheduled for:

Tuesday, November 17
1-5 pm
MA State House, Room B-1

Read more about the bills:

Bill S.1797: An Act establishing a fee on the storage of spent nuclear fuel in pools:

Bill S.1798: An Act establishing funding to provide moneys for postclosure activities at nuclear power stations:

The Speak Out at the State House to Close Pilgrim Now! Echoed throughout Grand Staircase Hall
by Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press - October 22, 2015
Senator Dan Wolf
Diane Turco
BOSTON - Activists working to shut down the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station gathered at the Statehouse on Thursday to press for the immediate closure of the facility.

The protest comes after owners of the Plymouth facility, Entergy Corp., announced plans to close Massachusetts' only nuclear power plant by June 2019.

That's not soon enough for activists who have lobbied for years to close the plant.

When Entergy made its announcement, Diane Turco, executive director for Cape Downwinders, said the group cheered for "about 10 seconds until we heard 2019." She called it "nonsense."

"That is a narrative that we reject," she added. "The real narrative is that it will continue to operate a degraded and dangerous nuclear reactor until 2019 and that is unacceptable."

Mary Lampert, of the group Pilgrim Watch, also spoke at the protest. Lampert said she fears Entergy won't properly maintain a plant they are planning to shut down.

"We are clearly in the most dangerous period we have ever been in," Lampert said.

The group also delivered a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker's office calling on him to urge the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to shutter the plant.

Entergy officials have said cutting safety corners isn't an option and plant's neighbors have no reason worry.

Last week's announcement that the plant would close by 2019 came about a month after federal inspectors downgraded the plant's safety rating to the lowest level and said they would increase oversight in the wake of a shutdown during a winter storm.

Entergy officials maintain that the plant remains safe, although it needed millions of dollars in upgrades. They also cited "poor market conditions, reduced revenues and increased operational costs" in their decision to close Pilgrim. The 680-megawatt plant, which went online in 1972, was relicensed in 2012 for an additional 20 years. It employs more than 600 people.

The timing of the shutdown depends on several factors, including further discussion with ISO-New England, the operator of the region's power grid. It could shut down as early the spring of 2017 if it decides not to go through with a scheduled refueling.

Protesters said the plant should not undergo another refueling.

A spokesman for Entergy said Thursday that the company appreciates those who support the plant and respects the right of opponents to make their opinions known.

"Our focus is on operating the plant safely and reliably up to our planned shutdown, expected no later than June 1, 2019, and then continuing with all safety protocols through ultimate decommissioning," Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said in statement.

Baker has said the anticipated 2019 closure of Pilgrim gives the state time to make the transition to other energy sources - such as wind, solar, hydropower and natural gas. But he said safety is fundamental.

"In the end there's two pieces at play here," Baker told reporters Thursday. "One is the safety piece associated with shutting it down, and the other is making sure that we have enough power into the grid that we can support families in their homes and businesses throughout whatever the rest of the shelf life is for Pilgrim."
Activists challenge Baker's response on plant closure   
by Christine Legere, Cape Cod Times - October 24, 2015
MA State House
BOSTON - After their rally at the Statehouse on Thursday, watchdogs of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station delivered a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker saying the plant is unsafe and should be shut down immediately to protect the public.

They did not get the response they were looking for.

Continue reading (Cape Cod Times) >>
Marshfield leader behind Pilgrim Coalition calls Pilgrim's closure a beginning   by Hannah Sparks - October 22, 2015
Anna Baker
Members of the local Pilgrim Coalition see the announcement that the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth will close no later than June 2019 as a win, but note that it is just the beginning of a lot of work to come.

"Though the Pilgrim Coalition is receiving accolades about our work toward closing Pilgrim, in many ways the hard work is really just beginning." said Anna Baker, a Marshfield resident and chairwoman and co-founder of the Pilgrim Coalition.

Continue reading (Wicked Local) >>
Pilgrim Coalition will be compiling personal stories regarding the medical effects of "Living in the Shadow of Pilgrim." If you or someone you know would like to contribute, please contact the Pilgrim Coalition here >>
Another Entergy nuke bites the dust: Fitzpatrick in New York will close   by Contributor, Oswego County Today - November 2, 2015
FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant - NRC file photo
NEW ORLEANS - Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) announced today (Nov. 2) that it will close the James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Scriba, in late 2016 or early 2017.

The company said its decision to close the plant is based on the continued deteriorating economics of the facility.

The key drivers cited by the company include significantly reduced plant revenues due to low natural gas prices, a poor market design that fails to properly compensate nuclear generators like FitzPatrick for their benefits, as well as high operational costs.

Entergy is reporting today to the operator of the electric grid, the New York Independent System Operator, and to the New York State Public Service Commission that it will retire the plant at the end of the current fuel cycle.

Entergy and New York State officials worked tirelessly over the past two months to reach a constructive and mutually beneficial agreement to avoid a shutdown, but were unsuccessful.

"Given the financial challenges our merchant power plants face from sustained wholesale power price declines and other unfavorable market conditions, we have been assessing each asset," said Leo Denault, Entergy's chairman and chief executive officer. "As part of this review, we previously announced the closure of the Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station in Massachusetts and have now decided that despite good operational performance, market conditions require us to also close the FitzPatrick nuclear plant," Denault continued.

FitzPatrick employs more than 600 workers, and has been a part of the Oswego County community since it began generating electricity in 1975.

"We recognize the consequences of the shutdown for our employees and the surrounding community and pledge to do our best to support both during this transition. As a company, we are committed to ensuring the well-being of our employees, and appreciate their continued dedication to making safe, clean, secure and reliable operations a top priority," Denault said. "Additionally, to the community of Oswego, we would like to express our gratitude for its overwhelming support and willingness to stand with us for more than 40 years."

Financial Factors Behind Decision

The decision to close the FitzPatrick plant was based on the following factors that make it no longer economically viable:

Sustained low current and long-term wholesale energy prices, driven by record low gas prices due to the plant's proximity to the Marcellus shale formation, have reduced the plant's revenues. Current and forecast power prices have fallen by about $10 per megawatt-hour, which equates to a projected annual loss of more than $60 million in revenues for FitzPatrick.

Flawed market design fails to recognize or adequately compensate nuclear generators for their benefits. FitzPatrick and other nuclear power generators provide a key fuel diversity benefit with significant climate-related advantages. In addition to generating virtually carbon-free electricity, nuclear plants offer onsite fuel storage, maintain grid reliability and serve as a significant source of large-scale 24/7 energy generation.

The plant carries a high cost structure because it is a single unit. Entergy has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars to improve FitzPatrick's reliability, safety and security. While the company will always make investments needed to assure safe operations, it considers the long-term financial viability of operating plants in markets that ignore the benefits of nuclear power.

The locational constraints reduce the plant's revenues. The region has excess power supply and low demand.

Entergy's Commitment to Nuclear Power

When FitzPatrick closes, Entergy will have one power generating facility in operation in New York State, the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, NY.

Entergy remains committed overall to nuclear power, whose benefits include carbon-free, reliable power that is cost-effective over the long term, contributes to supply diversity and energy security as part of a balanced energy portfolio. It provides almost two-thirds of America's clean-air electricity.

Background Information

The FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant generates 838 megawatts of nearly carbon-free electricity, enough to power more than 800,000 homes.

Additional information regarding today's announcement is available at and Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation's leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $12 billion and approximately 13,000 employees.
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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.

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