PLYMOUTH — Concentrations of a radioactive isotope called tritium found in late December during groundwater monitoring at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station were the highest detected since testing began at the plant in 2007. Tritium — a byproduct of the nuclear fission process — was found at 69,000 picocuries per liter in a sample taken from a well adjacent to a catch basin that collects and releases waste from the reactor into Cape Cod Bay.Keep reading (Cape Cod Times)
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
PLYMOUTH – A series of mechanical difficulties at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station has kept the plant from operating at peak for more than two weeks. Currently Pilgrim is completely off the electric grid, shut down Sunday evening because of a steam leak in a pipe supplying hot water to the nuclear reactor.
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.
PLYMOUTH – The ongoing heat wave could force Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to shut down, as soaring temperatures continue to warm the Cape Cod Bay waters that the plant relies on to cool key safety systems.
Pilgrim’s license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires the water being drawn from the bay to be no warmer than 75 degrees. On Tuesday night, the temperature in the saltwater system reached 75.3 degrees and remained above the 75-degree limit for about 90 minutes.
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. Read on →
Toxics Action Center Calls on “Dirty Dozen” Polluters to Clean up Their Act
Read the full report on the Toxics Action Center’s website: Full Report (PDF)
SOMERSET, MA — For years, Toxics Action Center has annually “celebrated” the Dirty Dozen Awards, profiling twelve of New England’s egregious polluters who the public health and environmental non-profit say have failed to take appropriate action to address their pollution problems. Today, Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth was named as one of the top 12. It was also named to the list in 2001 and 2007.
“The Dirty Dozen Award winners are dinosaurs. Their business practices are antiquated and becoming extinct. They could stave off extinction, but they would need to move forward in adopting many of the recommendations we outline in this report, including moving towards clean renewable energy and energy efficiency and phasing out persistent toxic chemicals.” said Sylvia Broude, Executive Director for Toxics Action Center.
Toxics Action Center released a report today called “25 Years of the Dirty Dozen: Past and Current Pollution Threats in New England”, profiling 12 sites and companies across New England, naming them “the most notorious pollution threats in the region” and proposing solutions to long-term pollution trends. “These Dirty Dozen awards spotlight repeat offenders who have still not cleaned up their messes along with several emergent threats, and generally highlight a wide array of toxic hazards ranging from leaking landfills to power plants, trash incinerators and hazardous waste sites. All of the sites pose a significant threat to public health and the environment and need immediate action by industry and/or government officials,” said Broude.
Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant was named a “winner” for Southeastern Massachusetts. Pilgrim Power Station’s waste and reactor contain 1,000 times the radiation levels of a Hiroshima-sized bomb. An attack on the plant could result in 100,000 deaths within a year of the accident.
“Pilgrim releases radiation daily into air and water and is built with the same flawed Mark I reactor design as Fukushima Daiichi,” said David Agnew from an active “Cape Downwinders” group and spokesperson for Pilgrim Coalition, an alliance of local groups across the South Shore and the Cape. “We need to heed the warning call of Fukushima and retire Pilgrim for good.” Pine duBois from Jones River Watershed Association, a coalition partner, also spoke, saying that the watershed group has been pursuing state and federal regulators since February, and she recently joined a lawsuit against Entergy. “Pilgrim has violated the Clean Water Act more than 33,000 times since 1996,” said duBois. “Our ocean is not Entergy’s dump: Cape Cod Bay belongs to all of us, and our regulators should enforce the laws that prevent this kind of pollution.”
The Dirty Dozen Awards were selected from a set of nominations by a thirteen-member panel of environmental and public health professionals. Other Massachusetts sites profiled in the report include Advanced Disposal’s South Hadley landfill and the General Electric PCB site in Pittsfield. Read more at www.toxicsaction.org
ESA Violation Request & Exhibits (PDF) May 2, 2012
JRWA and Pilgrim Watch filed a legal appeal with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in May of 2012 claiming that the NRC, Entergy, and USFWS violated the Endangered Species Act by finding that relicensing of Pilgrim will have “no effect” on the roseate tern.
“…until we can be assured that there is no threat to public safety and adverse environmental impact, the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission stands in opposition to the relicensing of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant.”
March 30, 2012: Advisory Commission Letter to NRC (PDF)