Pilgrim: Close it now


Fukushima three years out and the news just keeps getting worse. In Japan, the newsstories about extent of radiation pollution of air and water and exposure of plant workers make one grateful not to live on that island. But the evidence mounts of a disaster with worldwide implications. The usually conservative AMA is calling on the government to monitor and make public radiation levels in seafood.

Although it didn’t get the coverage in the U.S. media it deserved, there was a period some weeks back when Fukushima workers performed a delicate operation of removing over 1300 spend fuel rods from an unstable pool that was described by one source as “humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.”


Sobered by the developing dangers of Fukushima, two former chairmen of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission—regarded by many as more cheerleader than watchdog—have come out against nuclear power in general as an untenable power source.


Against the backdrop of the planetary struggle over the dubious future of nuclear power, our own struggle here on Cape Cod seems to be reaching critical mass. Cape citizens continue to have a stronger reason than most to oppose if not nuclear power anywhere, at least the irresponsible placement (and relicensing) of the one just upwind from us.


Our Pilgrim problem should by now be among the more well known facts of life here, having been in the news almost constantly for the last year. Pilgrim’s frequent forced closures and other glitches have put it on the shortlist of the nation’s poorest performing plants. Entergy, the for-profit company which owns Pilgrim, closed Vermont Yankee for reasons which would seem to argue for closure of its twin sister plant in Plymouth. (Seems that obeying all the required safety measures made it unprofitable)


Most compelling: 41years into the nuclear era, there still is no evacuation plan for the Cape. And none imaginable.


All Cape towns have voted to demand the closure of Pilgrim.


How long will Entergy (and the NRC) hold out against the clear will of those most vulnerable and the logic of closure?


What will it take?


How about governor Patrick adding to his legacy by acknowledging the votes of Cape towns and, based on that clear mandate, doing all in his power to close down the plant?


Rep. Keating claims to be sympathetic to those worried about Pilgrim; how about using the power of his office to make a clear, strong public statement calling for its closure? ( The headline for the story covering Sen. Wolf’s recent speech at Brewster’s First Parish: “Sen. Wolf: Pilgrim nuclear plant needs to go.”)


Sen. Warren has been, for her, remarkably quiet on this. What about bringing to bear on Entergy and the NRC the energy and determination with which she has been effectively cudgeling big banks?


And the town of Plymouth, host of Pilgrim and recipient of all those tax benefits over the years? Now that many Plymouth citizens and officials are sobered about the danger in their midst, are there not moves to be made by the board of health or the selectmen against the company for breaking the terms of the original contract? (As has been widely publicized, the current number of festering spent fuel rods is four times the 800 design maximum.)


There is a campaign to finance a full page ad in this paper consisting of many hundreds demanding CLOSE PILGRIM NOW. To add your name to this honor roll of those standing up to demand the end of this shadow on our lives, send a check made out to “Down Cape Downwinders” for $10. per name (to share the cost of the ad). Mail to Box 98 Wellfleet, 02667. Please include the town you live in. For more info go to closepilgrim@gmail.com.



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