How Governor Patrick could Help Cape Cod


In 2013, all 15 Cape towns passed a referendum calling on Governor Patrick to call on the NRC to close the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station because the safety of Cape Codders cannot be assured. There is no safe level of radiationAs of March 10th, 2014, the governor had not written to the NRC nor replied to any of the towns (as the referenda requested), nor made any public statement acknowledging the people’s will or regarding his intention. On March 19th, he wrote a letter to the NRC.

The Atomic Energy Act ‘preempts’ state measures to deal with the safety of a nuclear reactor, however it does not preclude public safety and environmental measures:

  • As lead for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the Governor should reject the MEMA/Entergy Nuclear Corporation emergency plans. The plans for the Cape are nothing more than a bad joke, leaving Cape Codders ‘in harm’s way’. When even recommendations by the emergency director in Plymouth are rejected, the plans are exposed as just a piece of paper in order for Entergy Corp. to meet the NRC regulations in order to operate and make profit at the public risk.
  • He could publicly adopt the common-sense position that New York’s Governor Cuomo did after Fukushima laid to rest industry claims that nuclear power is safe.
  • He could instruct the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to require Pilgrim to obtain a valid permit to cool the reactor with water from Cape Cod Bay (the present permit expired 17 years ago).
  • He could instruct¬†the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to do a follow-up study to the 1990 Southeastern Massachusetts Health Study (1978-1986)*¬†which found that adults living and working within ten miles of the Pilgrim reactor had a fourfold increased risk of contracting leukemia between the years of 1978 and 1983 when compared with people living more than 20 miles away.

There is more that our government could do, but the above would be a good start.

* After 2 peer-reviewed studies showing that Pilgrim was making a significant contribution to cancer rates in SE Mass, the state seems to have decided that the region is a sacrifice zone. The state study was a follow-up to a study which found the rate of myelogenous leukemia (the type most likely to be triggered by exposure to radiation) among males in the 5 towns around the Pilgrim reactor was found to be 2 1/2 times greater than the statewide average. – Dr. Sydney Cobb, et al., “Leukemia in Five Massachusetts Coastal Towns”, Abstract for the American Epidemiologic Society, Mar. 18, 1987.

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