PLYMOUTH – A group of local residents has appealed a Plymouth zoning permit granted to Entergy Nuclear Generating Corporation (Entergy). The zoning permit, granted without any public hearing, gives Entergy the right to have a long-term high-level nuclear waste storage facility at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Pilgrim’s operating license will expire in 2032. The proposed nuclear waste dump will store all of the radioactive fuel rods that Pilgrim has generated since 1972, for many, many years after Pilgrim itself shuts down.
The appeal, filed with the Plymouth Zoning Board of Appeals on April 25, 2013, asks the ZBA to revoke the permit because the long-term, outdoor, dry cask storage of nuclear waste is not a “permitted use” under the Plymouth zoning laws, and because such storage also is not what the zoning permit calls an “accessory use.” The appeal also asks the ZBA to require Entergy to obtain a special permit. Under the special permit process, the ZBA can set conditions that will insure that the nuclear waste dump is built and operated as safely as possible; the special permit process also allows for public input.
Meg Sheehan, spokesperson for EcoLaw, a group of volunteer lawyers representing the residents, said, “We support dry cask storage, but think the residents of the area are entitled to the safest, most secure storage facility that can be built. Entergy apparently did not give critical facts to the Plymouth Director of Inspectional Services. The real fact of the matter is that, without a special permit, Plymouth zoning does not allow long-term nuclear waste storage.”
Ms. Sheehan went on to point out that the 1967 special permit for Pilgrim did not allow either the construction or the long term operation of a nuclear waste storage facility. That special permit was limited to “a nuclear-powered generating plant and associated buildings, roads, and transmission facilities”; and in requesting the special permit Pilgrim’s original owner, Boston Edison, said “The project will not include a repair station or outside storage of supplies.”
“Coincidentally,” Mary Lampert of Pilgrim Watch commented, “in mid-April the NRC said that spent fuel storage cask structures and components were prematurely degrading from moisture and weathering, especially in marine environments, and pointed to the need for enhanced monitoring and adequate drainage. A Special Permit would allow the Town to have a ‘say’ to assure that these measures, and more, are done to better protect both the public’s and worker’s health and safety.”
“In the past,” said Ms. Sheehan, “Pilgrim’s owners have asked the ZBA for special permits when they wanted to make changes at Pilgrim. Why is Entergy now trying to avoid the special permit process and get away with doing the minimum possible? That’s not OK.”
The next step in the appeal process is for the Zoning Board to schedule a public hearing, which will be held in the next 2 to 3 months.
For more information and copy of appeal: http://www.ecolaw.biz/nuclear-power
Article passes by a vote of 197 to 2
Cape Downwinders Source →
CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS – Provincetown town meeting members voted 197-2 on Wednesday April 3, 2013 to call on Governor Deval Patrick to request the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) close Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS).
Cape Downwinders initiated a Cape-wide petition to give citizens a voice for public health and safety with twelve Cape Cod towns having the public advisory question on a ballot or warrant. Two additional town boards, Yarmouth and Falmouth, will vote next week to include the petition on their town ballot.
The public advisory question reveals the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and Entergy’s radiological emergency plans to keep residents on the Cape in the event of a severe accident even if a radioactive plume is moving over the area. The Sagamore and Bourne bridges will be closed to facilitate Plymouth evacuation efforts, and the state would later determine hot spots and “relocate” residents.
PNPS is a GE Mark l Boiling Water Reactor with the same design as Fukushima Daiichi where safety systems failed after loss of offsite power causing 3 meltdowns. In Japan, the US government called for a 50 mile evacuation of American citizens for their protection. With a no-go zone around the destroyed reactors expanding out to 20 miles, over 160,000 people were removed from their home indefinitely. Recently, the NRC held an open house in Plymouth where an NRC official Tom Setzer agreed that ‘Fukushima can happen here”.
A year ago, Governor Patrick, Attorney General Coakley, Congressmen Keating and Markey, State Senate President Murray, Senator Wolf, and Representative Peake all requested that the NRC withhold relicensing of PNPS until lessons learned from Fukushima were addressed. The NRC ignored those pleas and relicensed PNPS for another 20 years. Entergy will continue to operate the reactor even though there are imminent dangers involving 3,400 spent fuel assemblies in a pool designed for 880, a poorly designed containment structure known to have a 90% chance of failure, and serious problems with the emergency plans.
Cape Downwinders spokesperson Diane Turco said, “What is being protected here-people or profits? Telling the public to stay put, take the radiation hit, and relocate later will not be tolerated. The people are calling for the NRC to uphold their mandate to shut a nuclear power reactor if the public safety cannot be assured. Provincetown has spoken and the rest of the Cape will follow”.
Additional concerns focus on the lack of oversight by local and federal authorities and possible improper use of public funds
PLYMOUTH, MA – Local citizen advocacy organizations Pilgrim Coalition, Pilgrim Watch and EcoLaw announced today that they have called upon the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to immediately enforce its own regulations regarding the construction of a nuclear waste storage facility at Entergy Corporation’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant.
“Entergy is currently building a retaining wall, a road and moving sewage lines for this nuclear waste storage facility without adhering to NRC regulations,” said Meg Sheehan of EcoLaw. “It is outrageous that Entergy is continuing this construction without the appropriate state, federal and local oversight or permits.”
In December, after aerial photographs secured by the citizen groups exposed this project already under construction, it was determined by the Plymouth Town officials that Entergy did not have the proper notifications or zoning permits in place required to build this projected $120 million project. The town has since permitted only building the roadway. The groups are challenging Entergy’s attempt to get the project permitted on piecemeal basis. They say this is grossly inadequate, especially considering this construction site is in a coastal flood zone and also subject to local wetland laws. “Entergy is building a nuclear waste storage facility in a coastal flood zone without any of the proper approvals,” Sheehan said. “Storm and flooding damage are critical construction and permitting issues to this particular site and it appears these issues are being ignored by the authorities that are supposed to be protecting the safety and health of the public and the environment.”
Earlier this month, Pilgrim had an emergency shutdown during the historic winter storm Nemo due to loss of offsite power.
The groups have sent a letter to the NRC insisting that it administer and enforce its own laws regarding this nuclear waste construction site. In a separate letter, the public interest advocacy group EcoLaw has also asked the Town of Plymouth to require Entergy to obtain a special zoning permit as well as conservation commission approval.
A second letter was also issued to the NRC from the Pilgrim Coalition and EcoLaw seeking an accounting of the public funds Entergy is using to build this facility. “Entergy may be improperly tapping into a public decommissioning fund for these construction activities,” Sheehan said. “These funds are intended for the closure and decommissioning of nuclear plants not to promote the production and storage of nuclear waste from an active plant.”
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station on Cape Cod Bay is directly in the path of the historic winter storm due to hit Plymouth, Mass. starting Friday. According to information from the National Weather Service, there could bewidespread prolonged power outages, coastal flooding and erosion, and hurricane force winds.
Local groups have asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to order Entergy Corporation, Pilgrim’s operator, to take the reactor offline during the storm to prevent an unacceptable risk to the public and the environment. This storm differs from Hurricane Sandy because it is hitting Plymouth during high tide, not low tide, and will be accompanied by heavy snow and ice.
The groups say that a prolonged power outage, flooding, high winds, and snow and ice could cause several serious problems at Pilgrim. First, the pumps that circulate water through the pool of high-‐level nuclear waste could fail. If this happens, the water in the spent fuel pool would eventually evaporate, exposing the spent fuel to air. Second, Pilgrim’s cooling water intake pumps, which take in over 500 million gallons of water per day from Cape Cod Bay to cool the reactor, could flood or fail. Under either scenario, there could be an explosion that would release radioactive material throughout the region.
“This is predicted to be a historic storm with severe consequences,” said Pine DuBois, Executive Director of Jones River Watershed Association. “Winds are supposed to pick up Friday night during high tide and continue through the even higher tide Saturday morning. Near hurricane gusts will be out of the east, hitting Pilgrim head-‐on. At other times during high winds, Pilgrim’s water intake pumps have failed.”
“Entergy could not keep the lights on during the Super Bowl -‐ can we be sure they’ll provide enough power to Pilgrim during the storm?” duBois added.
According to Karen Vale, Campaign Manager at Cape Cod Bay Watch, “This historic storm emphasizes that rising sea levels and frequent, more severe storms make Pilgrim’s continued operations increasing risky. We hope that the NRC will close Pilgrim until the threat of the storm passes.”
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
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
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
BOSTON, MA — Cape Cod Bay Watch will celebrate the opening of its new office in historic downtown Plymouth by inviting the public to an open house Friday, September 7, from 5:00–7:00 p.m. The office is located at 58C Main Street, Plymouth MA.
The recently launched campaign will provide education and information to local residents and tourists about the fragile ecosystem of Cape Cod Bay and how it is being threatened. Cape Cod Bay Watch (CapeCodBayWatch.org) is particularly concerned about the impact of the cooling system of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, located on Plymouth Bay, and its cycling of 510 million gallons of water a day from the bay.
“The bay supports the fishing industry and aquaculture, tourism and recreation, because of its unique qualities and there are many people and organizations working hard to protect its marine aquatic life so we can have a vibrant and healthy Bay,” said activist Pine duBois of the Jones River Watershed Association. “This office will provide us with a place to bring our findings together and share it with the public.”
Cape Cod Bay Watch is a campaign of affiliated non-profits and individuals who are working to protect the health and welfare of the bay and its ecosystem.
PLYMOUTH, MA — Jones River Watershed Association (JRWA) and Pilgrim Watch (PW) yesterday renewed their request for government agencies to address issues relating to Entergy-Louisiana’s destruction and pollution of Cape Cod Bay from its operations at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth. Pilgrim takes in and heats 510 million gallons a day of sea water to make steam for its electric turbines and cool the reactor. This process kills plankton, fish and other sea life.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pilgrim’s operations have created a four-square mile thermal plume of pollution in Cape Cod Bay. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Entergy data shows that in the past 40 years, Pilgrim has used an amount of water equivalent to the entire volume of Cape Cod Bay for its cooling water system. On June 15, 2012, the two groups delivered a letter to the state office of Energy and Envrionmental Affairs asking the office to revoke its 2006 approval for Energy’s relicensing under the Coastal Zone Management Act: 06.15.12-JRWA-to-CZM-reconsider-final-1-1.pdf
“It is clear that the state has authority to stop the destruction of Cape Cod Bay from Entergy’s pollution. The state Supreme Judicial Court in 2011 ruled that the harmful environmental impact of cooling water intake systems like Entergy’s is “staggering.” Yet, the state agencies are standing by and letting this destruction continue.”Pine duBois, executive director of JRWA
PLYMOUTH, MA — Today a statewide coalition of public health, nuclear safety, social justice, and environmental groups delivered a letter to Governor Deval Patrick requesting that he ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to close the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station because the plant’s owner has locked out its regular workforce from the Utility Workers of America Union Local 369.
BOSTON, MA — Citizens will rally tomorrow show their concern that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is not making nuclear power plants safe enough in light of lessons learned from the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan. The rally will be held June 7 at 9:15 a.m., outside the John W. McCormack Post Office and Court House, 5 Post Office Square, Boston.
Pilgrim Coalition, Clean Water Action and other public health, environmental, and watchdog groups will rally outside the courthouse before a 10 a.m. hearing with a NRC Atomic Safety Licensing Board (ASLB). The hearing was requested by Duxbury-based Pilgrim Watch, an opponent of the recent relicensing of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.
Groups Respond to Republican Congressmen’s Demand that NRC Relicense Pilgrim, and Call on EPA to Explain Impacts of Pilgrim’s Cooling Water Malfunction on Cape Cod Bay
“In the week where Pilgrim was shut down due to a cooling water system malfunction and the community gathered on Sunday to raise awareness over safety, Congressman Upton and his colleagues saw fit to do Entergy-Louisiana’s bidding to try to get the NRC to trample the rights of local residents. These Congressmen from Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky, and Texas are out of touch with what’s happening here in Plymouth.”Pine duBois, Jones River Watershed Association
Groups file Petition with NRC to shut down Pilgrim during UWUA local 369 strike
Pilgrim Watch, Jones River Watershed Association, Pilgrim Coalition, and Freeze Pilgrim petition the NRC to shut Pilgrim down pending resolution of labor dispute that is fully satisfactory to workers in order to protect public health and safety and to assure that workers are treated fairly. Pilgrim’s out-of-state owners care only about their profits, not about the people who live and work here!
Pursuant to §2.206 of Title 10 in the Code of Federal Regulations, Petitioners request that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) initiate a proceeding pursuant to §2.202 of Title 10 in the Code of Federal Regulations.
Reactor: Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Request for Enforcement Action: Require Pilgrim NPS to cease operations due to the threat to public safety due to: the current lock out of its non-essential workers; a likely strike; and Entergy’s refusal to honor the demands of U.W.U.A. local 369 workers.
Facts that constitute the basis for taking this action: discussed herein
PLYMOUTH, MA — Residents voted Saturday to call upon the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to suspend action on the relicensing of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station until safety improvements are fully implemented.
“We are extremely pleased that the public has recognized the seriousness of the safety aspects of the Pilgrim reactor,” said Theodore Bosen, who represents Freeze Pilgrim, the organization which sponsored the question on the ballot. Our referendum won 59 percent to 41 percent, and it shows that the general public supports holding off on the relicensing until some of these issues are resolved. This is quite a turnabout from as recently as last October, when our town leaders were ready to endorse the continued operation of the plant for another 20 years without reassurance that all new safety measures based on the experience of Fukushima will be in place.”
Plymouth’s vote is particularly significant as it is the home of the 40-year-old Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. The reactor’s owner, Entergy Corporation of Louisiana, has asked the NRC to allow the facility to operate another 20 years. The vote makes Plymouth the ninth town in the area surrounding the Pilgrim reactor to vote to block the relicensing. Voters in Dennis and Harwich will have similar questions on their election ballots next week.
Today JRWA and Pilgrim Watch filed a legal appeal with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 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.
April 27, 2012: Letter to Gov. Patrick (Revised 4/30)
Time-sensitive Response to NRC Staff Request for Pilgrim Relicensing by May 8, 2012
April 13, 2012: SECY-12-0062
Supplemental Information Potentially Relevant and Material to Proceeding for the Renewal of Full-Power Operating License for Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station
PLYMOUTH, MA — The international organization, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), and the local groups, Jones River Watershed Association (JRWA) and Pilgrim Watch, called for a thorough investigation of pollution impacts on North Atlantic right whales from Entergy’s Pilgrim nuclear reactor in Plymouth, following recent whale sightings about a half mile off shore of the station on Cape Cod Bay. On April 17, three North Atlantic right whales, among the most endangered large whales on earth, were spotted swimming in front of the Pilgrim reactor. Consistent sightings of right whales off Plymouth have been reported since late November: www.nefsc.noaa.gov/psb/surveys
Since it began operating in 1972, Entergy’s nuclear station has been sucking in and discharging up to 510 million gallons per day of polluted cooling water into Cape Cod Bay in the same area of the western shore where whales are being seen. The known pollutants include chlorine, biocides and water that is up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. While conservation groups are urging officials to explore the situation, Entergy is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for permission to continue these operations for another 20 years.
A series of events prompted by citizen’s concerns about the safety of Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS) will kick off Thursday with a panel discussion of those concerns at Plymouth Town Hall, 11 Lincoln St., Plymouth, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday’s forum on the potential risks posed by the Plymouth reactor will feature nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, a critic of Pilgrim’s Mark-I design and nuclear engineer Howard Schaffer, a nuclear industry consultant, and is open to the public.
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is 40 years old, and its owner Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a license to operate another 20 years. The NRC is expected to rule on this matter by June 8.
PLYMOUTH, MA — Sunday, March 11, will mark the first anniversary of the disastrous tsunami and earthquake in Fukushima, Japan, which led to the explosion and meltdown of the city’s nuclear reactors. The Pilgrim Coalition, an alliance of individuals and organizations concerned about the potential of a similar accident here, will gather in a rally and memorial service in memory of those who lost their lives and property in Japan.
Groups of individuals and organizations concerned about the relicensing of Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant have formed the Pilgrim Coalition to inform the public about potential dangers of continuing the operation of the 40-year-old plant under current regulations and with existing safety concerns. Entergy, Corp., the Louisiana based company which operates the plant, has asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to allow the plant to operate 20 more years. The NRC is expected to make its decision by June 2012.
Several Pilgrim Coalition member organizations and individuals have already initiated actions on their own to put pressure on the NRC to review the health and environmental impacts of the explosion in Fukushima, Japan, before it grants the Pilgrim plant a license to operate for another 20 years. The groups also wants the NRC to require Entergy to implement safety requirements before it issues the license. The Pilgrim reactor is the same Mark 1 design as the Fukushima plant, which exploded and melted down a year ago after electricity, which operated pumps for cooling the reactor, was knocked out after an earthquake and tsunami.
“Although a Fukushima-like accident may seem unlikely at the Pilgrim Plant,” said concerned Marshfield resident Anna Baker, “Experts say it could happen here. And if it did, the consequences would be disastrous and long lasting. We hope to make sure that the NRC and Entergy do everything possible to ensure the safety and property of Southeastern Massachusetts residents.”