Protesters still oppose Pilgrim nuclear power Station

By Rich Eldred
Posted Jun 03, 2013

PLYMOUTH — You remember Bay Watch, Pamela Anderson, the ’Hoff and so forth – well Cape Cod Bay Watch is nothing like that.

Even though the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station renewed its 20-year license to operate in May of last year local opponents are still hoping for greater oversight and even for possibly a permanent shutdown.

Two weeks ago, 10 protestors, all members of Cape Downwinders, were arrested outside the plant and charged with trespassing. On June 9, Plymouth-based Cape Cod Bay Watch will stage a “floatilla” from noon to 1 p.m. just outside the security perimeter of the nuclear plant to celebrate World Oceans Day and raise awareness of environmental issues surrounding the power plant.

“We focus on environmental damage happening at the power plant,” explained Karen Vale of Cape Cod Bay Watch. “The cooling system the plant uses is outdated. It’s an environmentally destructive system, once through cooling that uses 510-million gallons a day from Cape Cod Bay and discharges a thermal plume almost five miles into the bay. It takes in marine life, fish eggs, plankton, and living fish and shellfish. It pulls in 14.5-million fish annually.”

Those fish are impaled in the intact filter screens, Vale said. According to Cape Cod Bay Watch, 160-million blue mussels are also sucked in each year.

“We follow all federal and state environmental regulations and NRC regulations,” said Carol Wightman, a spokesman for Entergy, which runs Pilgrim. “We support the right of our opponents to make their opinions known but our focus inside the gates every day is on the safe operation of the plant.”

Vale also worries about the warmer water pumped into Cape Cod Bay.

“That water is polluted,” she said. “They are permitted to discharge water up to 32 degrees hotter than Cape Cod Bay. That causes some significant concerns. That kind of system was banned in California in 2010. All existing plants have to phase out once through cooling systems.”

Warmer water can encourage invasive marine species, boost disease and negatively impact species such as lobster, which prefer cooler temperatures.

Now that the plant is licensed Vale is focused primarily on environmental issues rather than safety.

“If the plant is going to operate we want to make sure it follows all proper environmental laws and the regulations it’s supposed to,” she said. “[Activists] have identified 33,000 violations of the Clean Water Act (since 1996) so we hope we can make it operate in the most environmentally sound way possible.”

Excerpted from ‘Protesters still oppose Pilgrim nuclear power Station – Wicked Local – Cape Cod’… but that content appears to have been removed.

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