NIRS More info →
The Department of Energy (DOE) is considering a plan to allow radioactively-contaminated metal from nuclear weapons facilities to be “recycled.” This would allow this toxic metal to be mixed with clean recycled metal and enter into normal commerce—where it could be turned into anything from your next pants zipper to baby toys. Act now to stop this outrage! Deadline is February 11, 2013.
Representative James Cantwell
An Act increasing nuclear power plant protections to a twenty mile radius. PDF
Amend Section 5K(E) of Chapter 111 to assess power companies $400,000 per reactor (Pilgrim, VY & Seabrook) to fund DPH radiation control program. PDF
Representative Sarah Peake & Ann-Margaret Ferrante
An Act increasing nuclear power plant protections to a twenty mile radius. PDF
MEMA to assess the present preparedness in Barnstable and Essex Counties and to determine the need for, and appropriateness of, any additional specific steps for a radiological accident at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. PDF
Senator Dan Wolf
Increase Protections to 20 Miles (and including cities and towns located in Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties, as well as in the area known as Cape Ann in Essex county. PDF
Frank Mand, Wicked Local Plymouth Source →
Ten days ago it was a pump problem. Then, a few days later duck hunters came a bit too close for comfort. And Monday a valve leak set off alarms at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. But, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it does not, as of now, “see any commonalities between these events as two involved different valves and one was caused by personnel error.”
From a layman’s point of view, these three events – and another shutdown in May – could appear to form a troubling pattern. The plant, after all, is more than 40 years old.
Could these events be related to the age of the plant and, if so, should residents be concerned that multiple events might occur at the same time, making a simple leak or electrical problem a potential catastrophe?
Excluding the incursion by duck hunters, there have been three unplanned shutdowns at Pilgrim in just more than six months:
- Last May: Reactor scram from degrading condenser vacuum due to a valve failure
- Jan. 10: Reactor scram due to trip of both reactor recirculation pumps due to personnel error during testing.
- Jan. 20: Reactor shutdown due to a leaking safety relief valve (These safety release valves are a new design and have been installed since the last outage in 2011.)
Nevertheless, the NRC says no, there is no connection.
“We are constantly on the lookout for any problems or issues that could impact more than one area of plant performance,” NRS spokesman Neil Sheehan said this week.
“We would describe these as cross-cutting issues,” Sheehan added. “One example would be any training program weaknesses that could contribute to plant shutdowns or other events. If we saw evidence of such problems, we would not hesitate to require the company to take action in response, and we would follow up through inspections to ensure that occurred.”
But what about the age of the plant; is that a concern?
“Entergy must investigate and evaluate each equipment failure to determine if additional preventive maintenance measures may be necessary for a given component or system,” Sheehan said.
Sheehan said the reactor scram was due to personnel error during testing and not an equipment failure, and the safety relief valves had undergone work in the not-too-distant past.
The NRC does compile with what it calls “performance indicators,” Sheehan explained. These are the records of unplanned nuclear power plant changes and shutdowns.
“If the number of power changes and/or shutdowns crosses a predetermined threshold, for example, if more than three unplanned scrams occur more than the previous 7,000 hours – about 10 months – of critical operation,” he said, “that performance indicator would cross from ‘green’ to ‘white.’ ”
If that happened at Pilgrim, according to Sheehan, Entergy would have to perform a root cause evaluation and the NRC would evaluate the cause and the corrective actions Entergy took in a supplemental inspection.
“Pilgrim is currently ‘green’ in all performance indicator categories,” Sheehan said, “including unplanned shutdowns.”
But if another scram occurs in the next month or so, it would be time for a root cause evaluation.
Follow Frank Mand on Twitter at @frankmandOCM
Huffington Post Source →
Two years after the disaster at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant in Japan — called the “worst accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history” — a fish with staggering levels of radiation has reportedly been found in the vicinity of the plant.
According to French newspaper Le Monde, the fish was caught last Friday. It reportedly contained more than 2,500 times the legal limit for radiation in seafood.
The AFP writes:
[Plant operator] Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said caesium equivalent to 254,000 becquerels per kilogramme — or 2,540 times more than the government seafood limit — was detected in a “murasoi” fish.
The fish, similar to rockfish, was caught at a port inside the Fukushima plant, a TEPCO spokesman said.
The find is a stark reminder that fears of radiation continue to haunt the island nation years after the nuclear catastrophe rocked Japan’s waters.
Kaimi Rose Lum, Provincetown Banner Source →
WELLFLEET — Concerned for the safety of Cape Codders, who live downwind of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and in the state-declared “ingestion zone” of potential radioactive fallout, state Rep. Sarah Peake and state Sen. Dan Wolf are pushing for laws that will heighten emergency planning efforts and force the aging plant to address safety issues relating to the thousands of spent fuel rods stored in its attic.
Plymouth, MA Lane Lambert, The Patriot Ledger Source →
The Pilgrim nuclear power plant is back in production after being offline for seven days.
A spokesman for Entergy, Pilgrim’s owner, said early today that the 685-megawatt plant was reconnected to the region’s power grid shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Engineers and crews manually shut down the plant’s reactors Jan. 10 when Pilgrim’s two large water recirculation pumps automatically shut off.
That problem was caused by the failure of an electrical relay. Entergy spokesman Rob Williams said. Entergy extended Pilgrim’s offline time to perform routine maintenance that can’t be done when the reactors are working.
Pilgrim was shut down in December for scheduled maintenance.
Also in 2012, Pilgrim was manually shut down for three days May 23, after workers detected reduced air pressure in the plant’s condenser. That was Pilgrim’s third emergency shutdown in seven months.
Plymouth, MA Frank Mand, Wicked Local Plymouth Source →
Town Manager proposes setting aside funds in anticipation of plant closure
Though the town is expected to announce the signing of a new PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement with Entergy – the owners of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant – in the next few weeks, town officials are not waiting to begin to plan for the eventual closure of the facility.
For the first time since the plant began operating – and paying the town millions for the privilege – the town has decided to put some of that money away, to build a rainy day fund that would help to lessen the impact of the plant’s dropping valuation and, eventual closure.
The fiscal year 2014 budget will set aside $1 million dollars and, according to Town Manager Melissa Arrighi, the plan is to make a substantial allocation annually, depending on the towns economic status.
BOURNE, MA — Last week a Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) official told local officials and residents that the state agency is considering working on a traffic plan that would essentially ask Cape Codders to stay in place were a radiological accident to happen at Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS) in Plymouth. All of Cape Cod is within 37 miles of the facility and well within the 50 mile Ingestion Pathway Emergency Planning Zone.
At the meeting requested by Cape Downwinders and attended by local emergency officials from Barnstable, Mashpee, and Bourne, and Seth Rolbein, Senator Wolf’s chief advisor, MEMA Deputy Director Christine Packard told the group that MEMA has been in contact with Entergy Co., owners of the PNPS, to support and fund a traffic control study for Cape Cod. Ms. Packard reiterated that plans will be dealing with traffic control only and not address the lack of safety plans outside the 10 mile emergency planning zone (EPZ). The ‘shadow evacuation’ area extends 5 miles beyond the 10 mile EPZ and includes parts of Bourne and Sandwich. There are no evacuation instructions for those residents in that identified zone nor does MEMA plan to include any plans for Cape residents and visitors to evacuate.
“There are no plans to evacuate us from danger. There are no plans to shelter us from danger,” said Falmouth resident Bill Maurer, “but there are plans to control us during that danger which essentially insures that we will be exposed to that danger.”
According to Diane Turco of Cape Downwinders, MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz told the Barnstable Regional Emergency Planning Committee last October, “You will be in harm’s way”, acknowledging the serious irsk to people living on the Cape.
“The state’s response to citizen calls for public safety is to acknowledge Cape residents exposure to dangerous levels of radioactive materials and then relocate the population somewhere. The proposed traffic control plan is about controlling us to just stay put and take the hit.”, said Turco.
Organizers of the January 3 event said they were told by MEMA officials that the press would not be allowed at the meeting.
For additional information:
David Agnew (774) 722-3728
Paul Rifkin (508) 737-9545
Bill Maurer: (508) 299-3936
Diane Turco: (508) 432-1744
Casey Meserve, Plymouth Patch Source →
Pilgrim Nuclear power plant an exemption regarding the requirement to perform a graded full-scale emergency exercise by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Entergy requested a waiver from the requirement on the off-site portion of the exercise, which must be performed every two years, due to the impacts of Hurricane Sandy, according to the NRC.
The exemption requires that the off-site portion of the exercise for the Pilgrim plant be completed by the end of March 2013. FEMA evaluates and grades the off-site portion.
The on-site portion of the exercise, which is evaluated by the NRC, has already been conducted. It took place on Nov. 7. The NRC’s review did not identify any issues with respect to that portion of the exercise.
Robert Knox, Globe Correspondant Source →
The governor had doubts, the attorney general went to court, neighbors were divided, and the head of the agency regulating nuclear power voted against it. But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission decided that a six-year review process was long enough and renewed the Pilgrim nuclear power plant’s operating license for 20 years. The May vote came a year after a nuclear disaster in Japan cast a shadow over the plant, since Pilgrim is the same model as the reactors that failed in Fukushima. Local watchdog group Pilgrim Watch had other issues beyond post-Sept. 11 and post-Fukushima safety worries: earthquakes, operator errors, radioactive water leaks, poisonous gases blown by shoreline winds, threats to sea life from warm water, and how to cope with the effects (and costs) of a potential meltdown. A few of these were still churning through the slow grind of the license review when the renewal was granted — infuriating opponents — but other factors mattered more to the commission’s majority. The NRC staff backed renewal. Management’s safety record was generally strong. Pilgrim was equipped with backup power sources to prevent the breakdown in cooling that doomed Fukushima. The decision means Pilgrim will go on lighting lights and casting shadows. It generates 10 percent of the state’s power; millions live nearby.
PLYMOUTH, MA Cape Cod Bay Watch Source →
Entergy Corporation could be could be liable for up to $831,325,000.00 in civil penalties for polluting Cape Cod Bay at its Pilgrim nuclear reactor. According to a letter sent to the company and federal officials on October 5, 2012 by local residents, since 1996, there have been 33,253 violations of the federal Clean Water Act at the Pilgrim station. The law provides a $25,000.00 civil penalty for each violation.
The letter was sent under the provisions of the federal Clean Water Act, which gives citizens the right to enforce the law if the government fails to do so. Citizens must give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency written notice of the pollution and a chance to act on the violations. If the agency does not act, citizens can bring a suit after 60 days. Entergy could avoid being sued by reaching an agreement with the citizens or EPA over the violations, and stopping the activities that are alleged to be unlawful. The letter tells the EPA that the citizens may file a lawsuit after 60 days if the agency does not act.
The Pilgrim nuclear power station uses 510 million gallons a day of ocean water for its once-through cooling system. Marine life is harmed by the water intake, and after cycling through Pilgrim, the heated ocean water is discharged at temperatures up to 32 degrees hotter, and sometimes 120 degrees hotter, and containing chemical pollution. Pilgrim has been using the once-through cooling system since 1972, and was recently relicensed for another 20 years by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The letter identifies 15 different types of violations of the Clean Water Act. They include unlawfully discharging into the Bay a chemical used to control corrosion in the station’s pipes, exceeding legal limits for pH and chlorine, discharging total suspended solids and oil and grease without a permit, and failing to properly monitor and report pollutant discharges. The letter also alleges that Entergy has failed to conduct required biological monitoring to assess the impacts of the cooling water system on the Bay. The letter claims the 33,253 violations are documented in Entergy’s own monitoring reports filed with the government every month.
Also on October 5, a group of residents sent a separate notice of intent to sue to the state Department of Environmental Protection for allowing Entergy to damage the environment and failing to enforce the law. The state law allows a “damage to the environment” case to be brought, based on violations of pollution laws. The residents can initiate the state suit 21 days after the October 5 letter if the state does not act.
“Our ocean is not Entergy’s dump. Cape Cod Bay belongs to all of us. Our regulators should be enforcing the laws that prevent this kind of pollution.”Pine duBois, one of three residents who are signatories to the letter
“Our oceans and fisheries are in terrible shape, and stopping Entergy’s pollution is one way to make things better. The Bay belongs to all of us. It is vital to tourism and is part of our natural and marine heritage. Pilgrim has been polluting Cape Cod Bay for over 40 years. Enough is enough.”Meg Sheehan, one of the attorneys representing the residents
State letter: 10/05/12 State Letter 214 7A
Federal letter: 10/05/12 NOI CWA 505
Press Release PDF: 10/08/12 Press Release
Oct 6, 2012 Marshfield Fair Grounds southshorecelebration.com
Pilgrim Coalition will be tabling on Saturday October 6, 2012 at the South Shore Celebration: A Local Food and Sustainable Living Event. This event will be held at the Marshfield Fair Grounds from 10:00am to 4:30pm. We are looking for volunteers to help at the Pilgrim Coalition table to hand out brochures, sign up new members, speak to people about our Organization and the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. If you are interested in volunteering for a two hour shift please contact Anna Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Lampert, Pilgrim Watch
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Pilgrim: How Boiling Water Reactors Work 1
Spent Fuel Storage -Pool Fires 2
Containment Failure: Vent & Hydrogen Explosions 5
Pilgrim- Electric Reliability 10
Emergency Planning 12
Post Accident Cleanup 16
Risks From Daily Operations
Radiation Health Impacts 17
Marine Impacts 29
NRC Oversight- Public Participation- Alternatives
NRC Oversight 30
Public Participation 31
Do We Need Pilgrim’s Electric Power? 32
Jan Ellen Spiegel, The CT Mirror Source →
Waterford — Last month’s unprecedented 12-day shutdown of part of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station sent a shudder through the nuclear energy world.
Caused when the seawater used to cool the plant’s generating Unit 2 became too warm, it was the first time any U.S. nuclear plant was shut down because of intake water temperature problems.
Nuclear energy officials were concerned, but “I don’t know if we would say ‘surprised,’” said Richard MacManus, Millstone’s director of nuclear safety and licensing. He spoke as he stood alongside Niantic Bay, taking in the panoramic view of the massive Millstone facility and Long Island Sound, its source of water.
The shutdown capped a season of power reductions and other difficulties at several of the nation’s power plants — including non-nuclear ones — caused when summer heat and drought compromised the vast amounts of water needed to cool them. It has also set in motion a cascade of other potentially debilitating effects, all of which point to the likelihood that climate change has placed part of the U.S. power grid at risk.
Curiously, the industry and its watchers had seen it coming — for decades.
Frank Mand, Wicked Local Plymouth Source →
“From the time the Pilgrim’s landed, the Bay’s natural resources have changed dramatically, and we plan to raise awareness about threats to these resources and what people can to do preserve and restore them.”Margaret Sheehan, Cape Cod Bay Watch
Casey Meserve, Plymouth Patch Source →
A judge has decided to move forward on civil disobedience charges filed against 14 Cape Cod residents arrested during a protest outside Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in May.
Wednesday afternoon, a Plymouth judge decided to move forward with civil disobedience charges against 14 Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station protestors.
The charges stem from a May 20 protest outside Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. The protestors attempted to deliver a letter of demands to the plant manager. Pilgrim is owned and operated by Entergy Corporation of Louisiana.
Most of the protestors were from Cape Cod and part of a group called “Cape Downwinders”
Michael Risch of Falmouth was one of the protestors arrested. According to WATD, Risch was “Very pleased,” with the judge’s decision. “I’ve been here before and the case was dismissed. I’m not a publicity hound but I like an opportunity for the public to be made aware of various events.”
Another Cape Coder, Elaine Dickinson, rallied outside of Plymouth District Court while the defendants went before the judge. She says the intent of those arrested was to put a spotlight on Entergy’s dangerous power plant.
“Some of our people went to meet with MEMA, a Massachusetts emergency group, and their maps and their plans are contradictory. There is no plan. There is no plan for people on the Cape, other than you go to your local health department and get your potassium iodine pills; that’s what they want us to do and be quiet.”Elaine Dickinson
Twelve out of the 14 protestors arrested will return to court September 15. The other two defendants decided not to challenge the civil disobedience charges and opted to pay a $100 court cost.
WashingtonsBlog.com Source →
In 10 Years, Peak Cesium Levels Off West Coast Could Be 10 Times Higher Than at Coast of Japan
We’ve extensively documented the fact that ocean currents bring Japanese radiation to the West Coast of North America, and that – rather than adequate ocean dilution - there could be “pockets” and “streams” of highly-concentrated radiation.
Joke F Lübbecke of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and 3 scientists from the GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences poured tracer dye into coastal waters off of Fukushima, and monitored its progress as it traveled to the West Coast of North America, to find out what might really happen.