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Thursday
Sep032015

"Pilgrim nuclear station one step from shutdown: NRC downgrades plant to bottom of performance list"

As reported by Christine Legere at the Cape Cod Times, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has ranked Entergy's Pilgrim atomic reactor in Plymouth, MA near Boston as tied for the worst performing in the country.

It is tied for worst performing with another Entergy nuclear power plant, Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO). A young worker was killed, and eight others injured, on an early Easter Sunday morning in 2013, when a 600-ton piece of equipment was accidentally dropped on them.

The article reports:

...Diane Turco, Harwich resident and co-founder of the anti-Pilgrim group Cape Downwinders, called the federal letter to Entergy good news. “The NRC has finally sent a strong message to Entergy — We are looking at closing Pilgrim as a response to the failures. Finally!” Turco wrote in an email.

Cape Downwinders has planned a rally at the Sagamore Bridge on Labor Day to protest the lack of an evacuation plan in the event of a nuclear accident and to call for the shutdown of the power plant.

...U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., also issued a statement on Pilgrim’s status. “For decades, I have raised concerns about Pilgrim’s operations, security preparedness, the safety of the surrounding communities in the event of a nuclear accident and the willingness of Entergy to dedicate sufficient resources to run the reactor safely,” Markey wrote.

The senator noted Pilgrim has the same boiling water design as the reactors that had meltdowns in 2011 at Fukushima, Japan, after a tsunami. “NRC must continue this aggressive oversight until Entergy can prove unequivocally that it has dedicated the resources, manpower and training to guarantee the safe and secure operation of this reactor,” Markey wrote.

Attorney General Maura Healey called the downgrade of Pilgrim “a disturbing development" in her written statement. “My primary concern is with the safety and well-being of the residents of Massachusetts, particularly those who live near Pilgrim. Entergy must act swiftly and decisively to correct these issues and restore the public's trust in its ability to safely operate this plant.”

Pilgrim watchdog Mary Lampert, a Duxbury resident and founder of PilgrimWatch, said this latest development was no surprise. “Pilgrim is an antique reactor built when the Beatles sang on Ed Sullivan’s show, and Entergy is unwilling to spend the money for the TLC required. It’s time to retire,” Lampert said...