Nuclear Power

One reason nuclear power plants are expensive is concrete.
Petr Adamek / Public Domain

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant is scheduled to close in 2019, and there are many who would like to see it shut down sooner. But that leaves a significant gap in southern New England’s energy supply. And, love it or hate it, nuclear power is a source of electricity with a much smaller carbon footprint than fossil fuels.

Photo courtesy of ©Entergy Nuclear

Entergy Corporation announced last week that Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth will shut down for good by the year 2019, but that’s far from the end of questions or concerns about the plant. In fact, legislators and activists who've been calling for the plant's shutdown say the closure will eliminate few health and safety risks, and will add some new ones. 

 

In January this year, state Representative Sarah Peake of Provincetown filed a bill to expand the emergency planning zone around Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth from a 10-mile radius to a 50-mile radius. It was a bill she had filed the previous year, as well. 

Now Peake says she’s setting that bill aside, not because it’s no longer needed, but because she wants to take into consideration all the impacts of Pilgrim going dark. That will likely lead to more sweeping legislation, she says.

Brian Morris/WCAI

About 150 people packed a Plymouth hotel function room, including numerous Pilgrim workers who wore buttons saying “I support Pilgrim Station – safe and secure.” Barbara Gaedke, an Administrative Assistant at Pilgrim for 34 years, said the plant is safe.

“And I think a lot of people are fearful of nuclear, and so they hear ‘accident’ or anything that’s out of the ordinary and they become afraid. But I think if you knew the people that work there, and if you knew how safe it is, it’s less fearful,” Gaedke said.

NRCgov

At the statehouse Wednesday a seminar focused on the lessons from Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear catastrophe as applied to the Pilgrim nuclear power station in Plymouth. Moderating that discussion was WCAI’s Sean Corcoran. Panel members at the seminar included Naoto Kan, the former Prime Minister of Japan; Dr. Gregory Jaczko, former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); and State Senator Dan Wolf of Harwich. In the audio posted above, Sean Corcoran discusses the event on All Things Considered with Steve Junker, including the issues of evacuating Cape Cod in the event of an incident at the Plymouth Nuclear Power Station, and Senator Wolf's assertion that the rewards for keeping Pilgrim are not worth the risk. 

The Emergency Plan

Nov 23, 2011

Part 3 of 3 - Power Struggle: The Future of Pilgrim Nuclear Plant

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — On a Saturday morning in October, volunteer John Lamb greeted cars at the Eddy Elementary School in Brewster. One of those cars held Al and Kathy Wyman, who came to get their potassium iodine.
 

Part 2 of 3 - Power Struggle: The Future of Pilgrim Nuclear Plant

PLYMOUTH — Mary Lampert stepped down from the dais at Harvard Medical School and reacted to an audience member's assertion that within 5 years there would be a federal repository for spent nuclear fuel.
 
“Well, I now believe in Santa Claus because the whole thing is going to be resolved in 5 years,” she said. “And maybe the Easter bunny too.”

Part 1 of 3 - Power Struggle: The Future of Pilgrim Nuclear Plant

 

PLYMOUTH — Scott Allen, 54, set down his drink at the Seaside Club in Plymouth and picked up a letter to the editor