Our mission is to protect and restore Cape Cod Bay and its resources.
Our primary effort is to stop pollution and destruction of marine life caused by Entergy’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.
Surface Water Pollution and Destruction of Marine Life
Pilgrim uses an outdated, once-through cooling water system that uses up to 510 million gallons of water per day from Cape Cod Bay. The cooling system discharges large quantities of heated waste water back to the source, negatively impacting marine species and habitats. Pilgrim’s thermal pollution covers nearly 5 miles of the Bay. Pilgrim’s once-through cooling system also has direct impacts on marine life, killing billions of fish, shellfish and plankton every year. Pilgrim’s licence to operate this destructive cooling system has been expired for 18 years. Additionally, sodium nitrite (a corrosion inhibitor and additive to industrial greases) and tolytriazole (a corrosion inhibitor) have been leaking into the surface waters of Cape Cod Bay since Feb. 2014, with no plan in place to fix the leaks.
Pilgrim has been leaking radioactive tritium and other contaminants into the Plymouth-Carver Sole Source Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to many towns in the region. All source(s) of the tritium leaks have yet to be definitively identified. Entergy also discharges industrial pollutants into the ground from its onsite wastewater treatment plant. Groundwater reportedly flows toward Cape Cod Bay, meaning radioactive tritium and industrial waste are likely polluting the Bay as well.
Nuclear Waste Storage
Entergy is building a nuclear waste storage facility (called dry casks) at Pilgrim, as close as 175 feet from the shoreline. Storing high-level nuclear waste in a coastal zone, below a safe elevation (only about 6 feet above the FEMA flood level) is a serious concern especially considering patterns of climate change such as sea level rise and increasingly intense storms. The dry casks could remain there indefinitely, making the town of Plymouth a de facto nuclear waste dump. As it currently stands, the nuclear waste storage facility is not being designed and built in the safest way possible – in terms of the environment, public health, and the economic well-being of the town. Entergy should be required to obtain a special permit under Plymouth zoning laws, so that the Town can impose certain conditions on the project.
Climate Change Patterns
In the case of Pilgrim, the effects of of climate change patterns (e.g., rising sea levels, warming sea water and air temperatures, increasing intensity of storms and related storm surges, flooding, and wave action) are increasing risks to safety and environmental health. These patterns threaten the facility’s cooling system that is essential to normal (and safe) operations are likely to cause flooding events that will have site-wide impacts. They also pose significant risk to the stability of dry cask nuclear waste storage facility being constructed only about 175 feet from the shore of the Bay.