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Monday
Mar102014

Beyond Nuclear points to Pilgrim Mark I near Boston as U.S. Fukushima needing to be shutdown, before it melts down

WHDT TV interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps regarding the high-level radioactive waste storage pools at Fukushima Daiichi, the wrecked reactors' radioactive discharges to the Pacific, and what lessons the U.S. should have learned from the nuclear catastrophe.

WHDT broadcasts in the Boston area, nearby the problem-plagued Pilgrim GE BWR Mark I, identical in design to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4. Entergy Nuclear owns Pilgrim. Pilgrim's pool risks are much greater than Fukushima Daiichi's, in that every single irradiated nuclear fuel assembly ever generated at Pilgrim still remains stored in its pool.

According to the US DOE's Feb. 2002 FEIS on the proposed Yucca dump (Table A-7), by spring 2010*, Pilgrim already had 527 metric tons of irradiated nuclear fuel stored in its pool. Assuming 20 metric tons per year generated since, by spring 2014, that figure will have grown to 607 metric tons.

Although Entergy plans on beginning to move irradiated fuel into dry cask storage, it will likely leave the pool as full as it can get away with, in order to defer dry cask storage expenses as far into the future as possible -- standard industry practice. It will move as little waste out of the pool as it can get away with, for as long as possible. Thus, keeping the risks of a pool drain down or boil down at a needlessly high level.

But Entergy needs to free up space in the pool, in order to allow for off-load capacity as it re-fuels the reactor. Entergy hopes to operate Pilgrim for a 20-year license extension, which was rubber-stamped by NRC in 2012, despite a record six-year intervention by Mary Lampert of Pilgrim Watch. The resistance to Pilgrim's contiued operations is intensifying, thanks to a growing coalition of watchdogs, including groups like Cape Downwinders.