Pilgrim’s Progress: Nuclear BWR Safety Called to Question

Protesters Demand Safer Standards From RNC

Protesters from numerous groups including Pilgrim Watch, Occupy the Cape, and Occupy Falmouth, spoke at a press conference in Post Office Square on the morning of June 7th, 2012 in advance of a hearing by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  The NRC agreed to a hearing in response to Pilgrim Watch’s requests for a hearing on 2 of 3 orders issued by the NRC which affect all nuclear reactors. The protesters have called the orders “band-aids” that do not address the lessons learned from Fukushima’s nuclear plant disaster. “The Orders do not protect public health and safety as they are purported to do.  They affect every reactor.” (from www.pilgrimcoalition.org)

June 7th Protest Press Conference

The two orders which Pilgrim Coalition charges are wrong and inadequate are regarding:
1)Vent Request, and
2) Spent Fuel Pool Instrumentation


A few examples of what’s wrong with the orders: The existing order to improve reliable vents in Mark 1 and Mark 11 Boiling Water Reactors (BWR) does not require filters. If the contaminant vent is opened without filters, we get 100% of the lethal contaminants. Pilgrim’s reactor is a Mark 1 design, exactly like the design at Fukuskima. Japan is planning to require filters on vents in their plants.  Regarding the spent fuel pool, the order simply requires spent fuel pool instrumentation to provide information about the pool’s water, and yet there is no reasonable assurance that the pool can be refilled in a high radiation field, for example, when the proposed gauges read empty or nearly so.

Protesters Oppose Pilgrim Nuclear. June 7th 2012

Occupy Falmouth’s fact sheet states that:
The Pilgrim Nuclear Plant has been operating for 40 years.  Against all common sense and real safety concerns, the NRC has re-licensed the plant for 20 more years.  There is no evacuation plan for Cape Cod.  The spent fuel at Pilgrim is in a pool, vulnerable to a loss of power just like Fukushima. Highly radioactive spent fuel is in a crowed ‘swimming pool’ high in the main reactor building, and outside the reinforced primary containment area.  The spent fuel pool was designed to hold only 880 radioactive bundles.  It now holds more than 3,270 bundles and the number is increasing.  A safer way to house spent nuclear fuel is in dry casks.  Entergy, the corporate owners of Pilgrim, must put safety before profits and invest in dry casks before it is too late.
~ Susan


UPDATE: Entropy’s Corp.’s Pilgrim Nuclear is now three days into a lockout of unionized employees. A standoff in negotiations over salary and benefits has come to a head, and temporary personnel are currently serving in the place of these workers. Anyone looking for an exciting temp job?  ~ Nuevaspora



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