Start of Referendum Campaign to Close Pilgrim

Massachusetts Emergency Management director Kurt Schwartz met with the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee on 10.3.12 to present the status of safety plans for Cape Cod in the event of a radiological accident at Entergy Nuclear Co’s Pilgrim reactor in Plymouth. The plans MEMA/Entergy have for us are based on two focus points: traffic control and communication. It is not about public safety due to the fact that MEMA plans to not evacuate Cape citizens, instead, it plans to order us to relocate after we take the hit from deadly radioactive particles. The traffic plans include shutting both bridges and blocking access to Route 6 (see their diagram for traffic control at Rt 6, exit 2). The communication is for us to stay put and not interfere with the evacuation of our neighbors over the bridges. The statement that we ‘are not in immediate danger’ should not allow the state to think we can be fooled into believing that our options are then viable when, in fact, we are still ‘in the danger zone’. This plan is more like population control with a government agency (MEMA) making false assumptions about population response to a catastrophic nuclear accident at Pilgrim. That MEMA/Entergy/NRC find putting the population at such risk in order for a corporation to make profit is both immoral and criminal.

While the current plans include traffic control points in Sandwich and Bourne, none of the emergency planners on Cape Cod, and particularly in those towns were made aware of the plans and impact on the Cape until Cape Downwinders brought forward the MEMA plans/maps. In May, Cape Cod residents brought attention to the long-standing MEMA plan which called for closing the bridges in the event of an emergency at Pilgrim. In response, MEMA reported that was not the case; the bridges would be open and traffic would be allowed to flow freely. MEMA has been a part of this attempt to minimize the public’s knowledge and awareness of the constant danger and risk of the consequences of a radiological accident. Why? It appears protection of the nuclear industry trumps public safety. Comments by Dir. Schwartz at the BCREPC presentation:

* “So if you are on Cape Cod, and there is a release from Pilgrim, there [is] not a circumstance that I am aware of in which, as director of MEMA, I am contemplating calling for an immediate evacuation of the Cape…So let me repeat that. There is not a situation in which we would be contemplating calling for an immediate evacuation of the Cape…”

* (Within 50 miles) “there is a very significant and deadly risk from long term ingestion of radioactive materials.” p. 9

* “The plan is to send people into these areas with protective clothing and help everybody relocate out. We would move animals and anything living we move out. And the unfortunate reality, which is what Fukushima faces today, is that this area may well be closed to anyone for years to come.” pp. 9-10

* We need to figure out a better way to communicate with local officials and the public to try to convince people not to self-evacuate and follow the directions of public safety officials. These are our two challenges.” p. 13

* ‘You are going to be in harms way. You will be in the ingestion danger zone and you will relocate.” p. 15

MEMA is looking for input into the plans. Removing the threat is a more realistic plan that relocating a population. We call for an immediate and safe shutdown of Pilgrim and highly radioactive waste be transferred to dry cask storage. Cape Downwinders call upon all public officials in the state of Massachusetts to withdraw support for the Entergy/MEMA emergency plans in the event of a nuclear accident at the PNPS and demand that the NRC use their mandate and authority to ‘take action, including shutting down any reactor deemed not to provide reasonable assurance of the protection of the public health and safety’. We hold our public officials accountable. Given the stated plans from MEMA, public safety on Cape Cod is not assured at all.

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