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March 4, 2015

Local Groups Urge Governor Baker to Be Proactive When It Comes to Protecting the Commonwealth from Risks at Entergy’s Pilgrim Plant

PLYMOUTH, MA – Local groups have called on Governor Baker to be proactive in making decisions to protect the people of the Commonwealth and its economy from what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has categorized to be one of the worst run nuclear power plants in the United States. Pilgrim Coalition, Pilgrim Watch, Cape Downwinders and Jones River Water Association’s letter dated March 3rd states the increased risk at Pilgrim commands a more watchful eye by this administration.

In 2013 Entergy’s Pilgrim facility had more shutdowns or “scrams” than any other nuclear reactor in the United States. Many of the scrams were a result of equipment failures due to age and lack of maintenance. As a result, the NRC downgraded Pilgrim as one of eight reactors (out of nearly 100) with the worst performance records.

Pilgrim’s poor performance prompted a special inspection by the NRC in late 2014. Coincidentally, that inspection report was released on January 26th, one day before the severe winter storm “Juno” hit Massachusetts. The report was highly critical of Entergy’s management and faulted the company for failing to implement corrective actions, including storm preparation procedures.

The Nor’easter Juno brought several feet of heavy snow and intense wind lasting for two days. Very early as the storm quickly worsened Pilgrim lost offsite power. The same issues that caused the 2013 scram from winter storm “Nemo” were repeated again on January 27, 2015. The NRC launched an immediate investigation and sent special inspectors to Pilgrim to figure out what went wrong. Their report is due mid-March 2015.

The groups’ letter asks Governor Baker to take three proactive measures:

  • Use his position as Governor to convince Entergy and the NRC that it is in everyone’s best interest to close Pilgrim down whenever there is a threat of a severe storm.
  • Improve Pilgrim’s inadequate Radiological Emergency Plan.
  • Support pending legislation to assess a fee on nuclear waste storage, increase the size of the emergency planning zone and increase funding for the Department of Public Health radiological monitoring.

The letter asks for a meeting with Governor Baker to discuss the NRC’s investigation reports including the one due out in mid-March 2015.