Pilgrim shut down automatically at 4:05am Tuesday, January 27, 2015 after two transmission lines failed during Blizzard Juno around high tide – furthering concerns that the nuclear plant is seriously unprepared to weather the storm.
PLYMOUTH — Depending on your perspective, Monday’s shut down of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station was either another example of the plant’s “defense in depth” safety or additional evidence of its vulnerability.
The press release from Pilgrim arrived just after 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, Oct. 15, and referenced a successful scram (sudden shutdown) of the reactor at 9:21 p.m. the previous evening. According to Pilgrim spokesman Carol Wightman, “Pilgrim Station automatically shut down due to the loss of one of the two 345-kV lines that provides offsite power to the plant.”
PLYMOUTH — A Monday night loss of outside power has forced the Pilgrim nuclear plant offline for the fourth time this year.
Carol Wightman, a spokeswoman for Pilgrim’s owner Entergy, said Tuesday morning that the plan automatically shut down at 9:21 p.m. Monday, when an NStar power line into the plant went out of service.
Wightman said Pilgrim gets its outside power from two 345-kilovolt lines. NStar had already taken one of the lines out of service for maintenance when the second line failed.
Wightman said the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission was informed as soon as the shutdown occurred.
She said the shutdown had no effect on the health or safety to the public or Pilgrim workers. She said the 685-megawatt plant will return to production when NStar completes repair and restoration of the two power lines.
Wightman said emergency generators began operating as soon as the NStar line went out of service, and that the generators are safely powering the plant.
Meanwhile, she said Pilgrim crews are doing maintenance that can’t be performed while the plant is in production.
Pilgrim has now been offline for 73 of 288 days thus far this year, though 46 of those days were for planned maintenance and refueling.
The plant was offline three times earlier this year from pump-related problems. The plant was down for a week in January, and again in late August and early September.http://www.patriotledger.com/topstories/x1281960517/Pilgrim-nuclear-plant-offline-for-4th-time-this-year#ixzz2htkweZba
110 Pilgrim violations, 2000-2012
The Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth experienced 108 lower-level and two higher-level safety violations from 2000 through 2012. The violations were included in a congressional study expected to be released this month showing that safety violations at nuclear plants across the country varies dramatically from region to region. The Government Accountability Office report obtained by The Associated Press suggests inconsistent enforcement of regulations could be responsible.
A Pilgrim spokeswoman said they’re committed to addressing even minor issues and that enhancing safety is their top concern.
Twenty-six Northeast reactors reported more than 2,500 violations, about 97 per reactor, during the 13-year period. Lower-level violations pose very low risk. Higher-level violations range from low to high safety significance, such as an improperly maintained electrical system that caused a fire affecting a plant’s ability to shut down safely.
Shutdowns at Pilgrim in 2013
Jan. 10: Trip of both recirculation pumps. Returned to full power on Jan. 17.
Jan. 20: Leak in a safety-relief valve. Returned to full power on Jan. 24.
Feb. 8: Offsite power loss and main generator load reject. Returned to full power on Feb. 16.
April 18: Refueling. Returned to full power on June 3.
Aug. 22: Electrical problems with water pumps. The plant restarted on Aug. 26, but was shut down by a steam leak on Sept. 8 before reaching full power. Returned to full power on Sept. 21.
Oct. 14: Loss of offsite power.
Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
The Boston Globe: Ex-leader of Japan warns against nuclear power
IEEE Spectrum: Former NRC Chairman says Nuclear Industry is “Going Away”
Patriot Ledger: State senator calls for Pilgrim nuclear plant to be shut down
Cape Cod Online: Panelists outline problems with U.S. nuclear plant safety
Patriot Ledger: Panelists say Pilgrim nuclear plant should be closed
South Coast Today: Nuclear Experts: Retire reactors
Counter Punch: Toward a Clean Energy Future: The Nuclear Forum
WBAI Pacifica Radio: New York Lessons from Fukushima
Huffington Post: Nuclear Power Through the Fukushima Perspective
Business Week: Indian Point Nuclear Plant Should Be Shut, Ex-Regulator Says
Compiled by Dave Lochbaum, Union of Concerned Scientists – A 36-page printout of events that have occurred at Pilgrim, spanning from 1965 to May 2013.* Pilgrim Events (PDF)
*Important Note: This report contains information about events that happened – not events that did not happen. In other words, just because an event is NOT listed in this report does not mean it did not happen. It might be that the ongoing research effort that yielded this report has not yet recorded the event.
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
BWRs actually boil the water. In both types, water is converted to steam, and then recycled back into water by a part called the condenser, to be used again in the heat process.
Since radioactive materials can be dangerous, nuclear power plants have many safety systems to protect workers, the public, and the environment. These safety systems include shutting the reactor down quickly and stopping the fission process, systems to cool the reactor down and carry heat away from it, and barriers to contain the radioactivity and prevent it from escaping into the environment. Radioactive materials, if not used properly, can damage human cells or even cause cancer over long periods of time.