Petitioning Chairman, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Stephen Burns

Close Pilgrim Nuclear Station before it’s too late

The shaded area of the above image represents Fukushima’s fallout plume from 25 hours after the accident, superimposed on Pilgrim, which has the same type of reactor as Fukushima. Within a day of a Fukushima-type accident at Pilgrim, radiation contamination could extend from Gloucester to Worcester to Providence, RI to Long Island,NY and the Connecticut shore, including Cape Cod and Greater Boston.

To Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Stephen Burns and Commissioners:

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, one of the oldest commercial nuclear reactors, is the same design as the 3 reactors which exploded at Fukushima, Japan due to loss of coolant. Pilgrim is owned by Entergy corporation, and for several years has been ranked by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) as one of the three least-safe reactors in the nation. Recent NRC reports show that nothing has improved.

In 1972, when Pilgrim was first licensed, top government regulators realized it’s design is unable to contain a severe accident. This deficiency was demonstrated in 2011 when Fukushima Units 1, 2, and 3 suffered meltdowns. Those accidents are ongoing, and 100,000 people may never return home.

The NRC has allowed Entergy to let Pilgrim Station ignore its own management plan, ignore industry best practices, and skip ‘required’ fixes that could make the difference between a controlled or uncontrolled release of nuclear material.

Among many other violations, the NRC has allowed Entergy to: skip implementation of fire safety regulations; falsify 200 fire watch records over a 2-year period; ignore a non-functioning weather monitoring system necessary for an effective evacuation; operate for months with broken equipment; fail to replace critical equipment as many as 30 years past its replacement date; and put off needed repairs or inadequately implement them. Such is the NRC’s implementation of “lessons learned” from Fukushima.

Last month a leaked email written by the head of the NRC’s special inspection team, Don Jackson, revealed that Entergy’s management had allowed an ineffective safety culture “that a lot of talking probably won’t fix,” and that Pilgrim has a “team of employees who appear to be struggling with keeping the nuclear plant running.”

  • Plant workers fail to follow well-established programs.
  • Broken equipment doesn’t get properly fixed.
  • Plant “experts” lack required expertise.
  • Staff members do not understand their roles and responsibilities.
  • Corrective actions in the recovery plan seem to have been hastily developed and implemented, and some have been circumvented as they were deemed too hard to complete.

And we learned recently, that even though the terrorist threat to this nation has escalated, Entergy’s management failed to follow security regulations - not once but nine times in the past year.

People on Cape Cod are downwind of Pilgrim much of the time, yet they have no evacuation plan. Because one or both bridges would be closed, they are expected to shelter in wooden homes which offer little protection from fallout. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has a plan to “relocate” hundreds of thousands of residents after an accident, if needed. Home insurance does not cover nuclear disasters; your home value could drop to zero overnight.

For these reasons and more, we are asking the NRC to close Pilgrim now, ahead of the planned refueling scheduled for this May.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Chairman, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Stephen Burns


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