Cape Cod Times Article, Feb. 25, 2016
By Christine Legere
Read article directly HERE >>
Pilgrim Owner Faces Penalty for Violating State Law
Entergy failed to obtain permit for cooling system pulleys.
PLYMOUTH — The owner-operator of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station violated state law by not getting a proper permit for a pulley system it installed in Cape Cod Bay last fall as part of an emergency reactor cooling system.
The system, one of the requirements instituted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi plant disaster in Japan, is meant for use only when electronically powered methods of cooling the reactor are knocked out by extreme weather.
The two haul lines run from the shore of Cape Cod Bay to the jetty along the east side of the plant’s water discharge canal. Entergy Corp. installed the pulley system and some floats around September, the Department of Environmental Protection noted.
A hose would be attached to the lines and manually conveyed to deeper water, where it would suck in seawater, powered by an onshore pump. The water would then be injected into lines running to the reactor’s core cooling system.
In a Feb. 18 letter, David Johnston, deputy regional director of the Bureau of Water Resources for the Department of Environmental Protection, told Entergy the pulley system, with its two long hauling lines, was classified as a structure in the Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act and therefore its installation in Cape Cod Bay required a permit or amendment to an existing license.
Johnston warned Entergy that an administrative penalty could be assessed “for every day from now on that you are in noncompliance.”
Entergy was ordered to remove the unlicensed structures within 30 days and provide photographic documentation of the removal or submit an application to the department to authorize the structures.
Entergy did not respond to a request for comment, but Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Edmund Coletta said the utility company had secured the necessary license from his agency for some moorings that were to be driven into the floor of the bay as part of the company’s original emergency cooling plan. An appeal of the license was then filed, which delayed installation of the moorings.
Entergy installed the pulley system in place of the moorings but did not notify state environmental officials of the switch, Coletta said.
A department hearing officer recommended earlier this month that the appeal of the license be denied, but the final decision must be made by department Commissioner Martin Suuberg, who has yet to take action.
Coletta said Entergy had notified state environmental officials it was waiting for the commissioner’s decision. If the commissioner agrees with the hearing officer, the utility company will put the moorings in and remove the haul lines.
If the decision goes against Entergy or is not made within the department’s 30-day time frame, the company will file the required permit application for the pulley system.
Mary Lampert, a Duxbury resident and president of Pilgrim Watch, said she was pleased state health officials were making Entergy obey the law.
“DEP said there are rules,” Lampert said. “You have to say ‘May I’ before you can put structures in Cape Cod Bay.”
William Maurer, a Falmouth resident and member of the activist group Cape Downwinders, said he was not surprised the work done by Entergy was not allowed. “You can ask for permission or ask for forgiveness,” Maurer said. “Entergy asks for forgiveness.”
— Follow Christine Legere on Twitter: @chrislegereCCT.