Yesterday Entergy announced that it plans to close the Pilgrim reactor in Plymouth, MA by 2019. When that happens, one-half of all the nukes in New England will be shut down!
As we have written previously, even the lax NRC could not ignore the cascading effect of poor maintenance at Pilgrim, and recently it was ranked one of the 3 least safe reactors in the US. (The other two, in Arkansas, are also owned by Entergy).
Pilgrim should close NOW. The list of repairs the NRC has begun keeps getting longer. How can it be safe?
Pilgrim “fails in every Nor’easter since 1978,” has had several unplanned shut downs, hasn’t fixed a fire problem discovered in 1992, has tons of waste on site on Cape Cod Bay, a malfunctioning weather tower, and an evacuation plan that is a joke. It is a twin to Fukushima, like Yankee, so we know those weaknesses.
The day after Entergy announced its plan to close the Pilgrim reactor, Power magazine published this article: Is Entergy Moving Out of Nukes?
While many folks are comparing Entergy’s closure of VT Yankee to Pilgrim, there are big differences.
- Entergy said, on September 28, that if the cost of fixes required by the NRC was too high, they would shut down Pilgrim. On October 8, NRC’s PR man Neil Sheehan said, “They are one step removed from the column where they would be at risk of being shut down by the NRC.” VT Yankee was not in that situation. We did not get a heads up, and Yankee was not under pressure from the NRC to close.
- Entergy’s stock has fallen 30% this year. Entergy said it may close Fitzpatrick in NY. Entergy withdrew an application to build a new nuclear reactor in Mississippi. Entergy just sold its natural gas plant in Rhode Island. Entergy needs cash.
- While Entergy blamed competition from natural gas in the decisions to close both Yankee & Pilgrim, there were no pipelines proposed in Vermont at the time. On the other hand, Massachusetts is currently involved in a huge energy battle: natural gas pipelines versus renewables. Pilgrim’s closing is not going to help the fight against the pipelines.
Here is MA Senator Dan Wolf:
But now is not the time to relax: We need to make sure Pilgrim operates safely, closure happens as soon as possible, the cost of decommissioning is not borne by taxpayers or ratepayers, and the people working at Pilgrim transition into good jobs. Let’s use this historic moment to move us toward clean, renewable energy that much faster!
We know better than anyone, that closure is a mixed bag. No more high level radioactive waste will be created. But Pilgrim activists will face a lengthy list of new challenges. For now, we congratulate our comrades. As NIRS commented on the closure news:
It is probably not a coincidence that for the past 25 years, New England has been home to the most active and aggressive anti-nuclear movement in the U.S. When people band together, work together, and stick to it: good things happen.
We at Safe and Green plan to share our experience of the closure of Vermont Yankee, and the fact that the NRC seems even more lax and captive to industry than ever once the last kilowatt is generated. We have grave concerns about the financial future of Entergy. We will strategize with those working to safely dismantle Pilgrim toward a better outcome than Yankee’s status, as it seems more possible every day that Entergy will not be here to complete the job.