Posted on    April 25, 2014      Mary Lampert, Pilgrim Watch    OCM/Wicked Local

Industries that can harm the public have “tobacco scientists” and lobbyists to promote their message. The Pilgrim nuclear plant is no exception, and denies the pattern of radiation-linked cancers and disease around it.

Industries that can harm the public have “tobacco scientists” and lobbyists to promote their message. The Pilgrim nuclear plant is no exception, and denies the pattern of radiation-linked cancers and disease around it.

Pilgrim’s spin doctors choose to rely on fiction, not facts. We rely on the National Academies (our nation’s premier scientists). The National Academies’ latest report said there is no safe dose of radiation and that exposure to even very low levels of radiation is three times more dangerous than previously expected – and more so for children and women. We rely also on statistics from the Massachusetts Cancer Registry. In 1982 it began recording data showing a continued increase in radiation-linked cancers in communities around Pilgrim.

A review of Massachusetts Cancer Registry data shows that Plymouth (from 2002-2009) has a statistically significant increased level of leukemia, at a 95 percent probability level. This means that there is, at most, a 5 percent chance that the difference between the observed and expected cases of leukemia is due to chance. There also is a statistically significant increased level of prostate cancer, another radiation-linked disease.

For the previous two decades, the Massachusetts Cancer Registry shows the “footprints” of radiation-linked disease (leukemia, thyroid cancer, multiple myeloma and prostate cancer) in the seven towns most likely to be impacted by Pilgrim – Carver, Duxbury, Kingston, Marshfield, Pembroke, Plymouth and Plympton. The Cape is downwind from Pilgrim much of the year. It, along with Southeastern Massachusetts, has the highest cancer rates in the state. There has not yet been a study to determine whether radiation emissions from Pilgrim are the missing variable to explain the high cancer rates there.

A major case-control study by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) in 1990 found a four-fold increase in adult leukemia the closer one lived to or if one worked at Pilgrim. Pilgrim did not like the results and cut a political deal allowing it to appoint a second peer review panel to re-review the study and write a report. Even Pilgrim’s handpicked panel concluded that, “The original study team adhered to generally accepted epidemiological principles… [And] …the findings of the study cannot be readily dismissed on the basis of methodological errors or proven biases… [and last]…the association found between leukemia and proximity to the Pilgrim nuclear facility was unexpectedly strong.”

Pilgrim apologists say radiation from Pilgrim is closely monitored and controlled. Not so. Pilgrim collects its own environmental samples, fewer now than previous years; analyzes the samples in their own lab; and writes its own reports – the equivalent of letting students write and grade their own exams. MDPH has a very limited offsite monitoring program due to lack of finances. Since 2007, there have been onsite monitoring wells to detect radioactive tritium leaks before they enter Cape Cod Bay. Leaks of tritium are evident but not the source. If more wells were installed, would more releases be detected?

Pilgrim place real-time air monitors in off-site communities. Pilgrim refused to do so. MDPH began its own, very limited offsite air-monitoring program in 2010.

Pilgrim’s operational history affects us today. Pilgrim began operations with bad fuel and without filtration. In 1982, Pilgrim blew its toxic filters, spewing hot particles into neighborhoods. A state-sponsored study showed that weather conditions then were worst-case for holding contamination over local communities and Cape Cod. Environmental samples showed Cesium-137 in milk samples from a close-by farm was 1 million times greater than expected; no Cesium-137 was found in control samples. A similar pattern was recorded by Pilgrim in other environmental samples. Pilgrim claimed it was due, not to it, but to Chinese test bombs. You decide. Did the Chinese have “smart” test bombs that targeted Pilgrim’s indicator samples but not their control samples?

Spin doctors cannot raise the dead or make the sick well. If the dead and sick with radiation-linked diseases are significantly more prevalent near Pilgrim than in communities distant, the conclusion seems obvious.

Mary Lampert is a resident of Duxbury, founder and director of Pilgrim Watch, and co-chairman of the town of Duxbury’s Nuclear Advisory Committee.

Posted on    March 31, 2014  

Right now, 5 very important bills are under consideration that will increase public safety and protect public health. If they pass, it will cost Entergy a hefty sum of money to implement.

Bill H.2045 188th – An Act increasing nuclear power plant protections to a twenty mile radius
(Current) Sponsors: Sarah Peake & Ann Margaret Ferrante

Bill H.1906 1188th – An Act increasing nuclear power plant protections to a twenty mile radius
(Current) Sponsor: James Cantwell

Bill H.1907 188th – An Act to amend Section 5K(E) of Chapter 111
(Current) Sponsor: James Cantwell
Asks to increase Massachusetts Department of Health’s (MDPH) assessment from a maximum $180,000 per annum, to an initial assessment of not less than $400,000 per facility. It addresses the fact that the Commonwealth has insufficient funds to be able to perform its legislatively required monitoring, surveillance and emergency response obligations in communities likely to be affected by emissions from Pilgrim, Vermont Yankee, and Seabrook.

Bill H.2046 188th – An Act relative to radiological air monitoring
(Current) Sponsors: Sarah Peake & Ann Margaret Ferrante

Bill H.2180 188th – An Act relative to emergency planning
(Current) Sponsors: Sarah Peake & Ann Margaret Ferrante

What You Can Do!

Call and/or Email your legislators and ask them to support these bills:


Call the Joint Committee of Public Health:

Senate Committee Chair, John Keenan (617) 722-1494
House Committee Chair, Jeffrey Sanchez (617) 722-2130

Posted on    March 21, 2014      Bruce Gellerman    Source (WBUR)

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — Twelve Cape Cod residents were found guilty Friday in Plymouth District Court for illegally entering the grounds of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant.

The defendants admitted to trespassing at the Plymouth facility, but used the seldom argued necessity defense, declaring they were innocent because they were trying to prevent an imminent public danger.

Diana Turco, co-founder of Cape Downwinders, a group of Cape Cod residents who want the plant shut down, was one of 12 defendants.

“There are cancers caused by the nuclear power plant. There is no assurance of public safety in the evacuation plans. Those are huge issues,” Turco said.

The judge ruled the standards for the necessity defense were not met.

The 12 defendants were found guilty and each was sentenced to a day in jail, or time served.

Posted on    March 17, 2014      APCC

The Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod has released their study:

“Based on the importance of Cape Cod’s natural resources and the impacts and threats posed by Pilgrim, APCC calls on public officials and regulatory agencies to revoke Pilgrim’s permits and to require that Pilgrim be decommissioned in the shortest time and safest manner feasible. We also recommend additional measures to safeguard the Cape’s environment and human population.”

Posted on    January 18, 2014      Christine Legere, Cape Cod Times    Source

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)

Posted on    November 12, 2013      Frank Mand, OCM    Source

PLYMOUTH — Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Dr. Allison Macfarlane insisted that neither the recently announced layoffs at Pilgrim Station nor the drop in its performance rating – and not even the debate over dry cask storage – had anything to do with her visit to Plymouth. But you have to admire her timing. Keep reading…

Posted on    November 9, 2013      Christine Legere, Cape Cod Times    Source

PLYMOUTH — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s top official toured the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station on Friday and later told reporters the 41-year-old plant, plagued by mechanical problems, is headed for trouble with federal regulators unless it improves its performance.

When asked whether the NRC would ever close Pilgrim, Allison Macfarlane said the agency has the authority to shutter any plant for as long as it takes for the operation to turn around and run safely.

“We did that with Fort Calhoun in Nebraska, and it’s been closed for two years,” the commission chairman said. “Pilgrim is not in the worst shape yet, but it’s headed that way, and we want to make sure they don’t get there.”

Macfarlane’s visit was routine, but it came at the end of a tough week for Pilgrim.

On Monday, the NRC announced a performance rating drop for the Plymouth plant based on shutdowns with complications over the last several months. The downgrade placed Pilgrim among 22 reactors nationwide that will be more closely watched by federal regulators. Currently it leads the nation’s 100 reactors in shutdowns this year.

Entergy Corp., Pilgrim’s owner-operator, was informed by the NRC on Wednesday that the plant’s standing is expected to fall even further at the close of the year’s fourth quarter, based on its high number of unplanned shutdowns in general.

That further downgrade will place the Plymouth plant among the nation’s eight worst performers.Keep reading

Posted on    November 5, 2013      Christine Legere    Source (Cape Cod Times)

PLYMOUTH – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be watching Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station’s performance more closely because of complications during unplanned shutdowns of the facility’s reactor over the past year.

The NRC on Monday released third quarter performance reports for the nation’s 100 nuclear power plants.

Pilgrim, which is owned by Entergy Nuclear and located in Plymouth, had two shutdowns with complications so far this year. Such shutdowns should be extremely rare, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan. The maximum allowed by the NRC in a year is one.

Pilgrim will receive “an increased level of oversight,” Sheehan wrote in an email. An NRC inspection team will visit the plant and scrutinize the root cause for recent problems.

Pilgrim is also walking a fine line for unplanned shutdowns in general. No more than three are allowed in a 7,000-hour period of operation. When the third quarter ended, the plant was at 2.9. That number did not include the Oct. 14 unplanned shutdown, which will be considered at the end of the fourth quarter.

Posted on    October 16, 2013      Frank Mand    Source

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.” Keep reading…

Posted on    October 15, 2013      Lane Lambert    Source

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.

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

Posted on    October 12, 2013  

The Boston Globe: Ex-leader of Japan warns against nuclear power

IEEE Spectrum: Former NRC Chairman says Nuclear Industry is “Going Away”

Huffington Post: After Fukushima Disaster, Advocates Argue Only Safe Nuclear Power Is None At All

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

YouTube: Former PM Naoto Kan of Japan Speaks Out on Fukushima

Huffington Post: Nuclear Power Through the Fukushima Perspective

Business Week: Indian Point Nuclear Plant Should Be Shut, Ex-Regulator Says

Huffington Post: Former NRC Chair: Emergency Plans Won’t Protect Residents from Radiation

Posted on    September 30, 2013  

What is KI – What is it for?

In a nuclear reactor accident, radioactive iodine is released; it can cause thyroid cancer/disease, and mental retardation in children of exposed pregnant women. Children and infants, including the unborn, are most vulnerable. KI protects by blocking the thyroid with a harmless form of iodine.

KI must be taken before or shortly after exposure – within six hours. It does not protect against other harmful radioactive releases or other potential health effects. One dose of KI protects for 24 hours.

KI is FDA approved and stockpiled around the world. Adverse reactions are possible for those who are allergic to iodine; if allergic to iodine (shellfish or table salt) check with your doctor.

Where do I get it?

KI is stockpiled for the public in several local Public Schools; participating private schools and daycare centers; emergency shelters; and, the Emergency Reception Center in Braintree. Check your community’s policy.

Parental permission is required for school children. Unaccompanied minors at our Town Shelters and Reception Center will not receive KI unless parental permission has been given ahead of time.

To protect your family, you should have your own supply at home.

Some local Boards of Health offices (including Duxbury and Marshfield) give out free KI pills to residents.

The two manufacturers in the United States are listed below.

ANBEX, Inc. – IOSAT Tablets
ANBEX, Inc., PMB 284 35246 U.S.
19 N. Palm Harbor, FL 34684-1931
727-329-1115 ext. 1524
ThyroidShield – Liquid KI

For more information, contact:

Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Radiation Control Program


Posted on    September 10, 2013      Christine Legere, Cape Cod Times    Source

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. Keep reading…

Posted on    August 26, 2013      Dave Lochbaum, UCS

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.

Posted on    August 22, 2013      Christine Legere, Cape Cod Times    Source

PLYMOUTH — The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station was manually shut down at 8 a.m. Thursday after a tripped breaker cut off power to pumps supplying water to its reactor. James Sinclair, spokesman for Entergy, the plant’s owner and operator, said Thursday the public was in no danger. The plant was put into safe shutdown mode while staff tried to figure out the cause of the tripped breaker.

The plant will remain offline until the problem is identified and fixed, Sinclair said. The facility could be put into “cold shutdown,” which takes up to 48 hours to complete, depending on what repairs are needed, he said.

Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the plant had 1.9 unplanned shutdowns in a 7,000-hour period. This latest shutdown could shift the plant into a category that requires tighter oversight by the federal agency.Keep reading

Posted on    April 14, 2013      Helen Caldicott    Source (

Civilian Cancer Deaths Expected to Skyrocket Following Radiological Incidents

The White House has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version, slated for Federal Register publication as soon as today, is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.” The Obama administration blocked a version of these PAGs from going into effect during its first days in office. The version given approval late last Friday is substantially similar to those proposed under Bush but duck some of the most controversial aspects:

  • In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period;
  • In water, the PAGs punt on an exact new standard and EPA “continues to seek input on this.” But the thrust of the PAGs is to give on-site authorities much greater “flexibility” in setting aside established limits; and
  • BULLETResolves an internal fight inside EPA between nuclear versus public health specialists in favor of the former. The PAGs are the product of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation whose nomination to serve as EPA Administrator is taken up this week by the Senate.

Despite the years-long internal fight, this is the first public official display of these guides. This takes place as Japan grapples with these same issues in the two years following its Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“This is a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace. If this typifies the environmental leadership we can expect from Ms. McCarthy, then EPA is in for a long, dirty slog,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the EPA package lacks a cogent rationale, is largely impenetrable and hinges on a series of euphemistic “weasel words.”

“No compelling justification is offered for increasing the cancer deaths of Americans innocently exposed to corporate miscalculations several hundred-fold.”

Reportedly, the PAGs had been approved last fall but their publication was held until after the presidential election. The rationale for timing their release right before McCarthy’s confirmation hearing is unclear.

Since the PAGs guide agency decision-making and do not formally set standards or repeal statutory requirements, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and Superfund, they will go into full effect following a short public comment period. Nonetheless, the PAGs will likely determine what actions take place on the ground in the days, weeks, months and, in some cases, years following a radiological emergency.

Posted on    November 28, 2012      Toxics Action Center

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