Residents Challenge Pilgrim’s Permit For New Nuclear Waste Site

Update 7/11: Wednesday night, the Plymouth zoning board voted to reject the opponents appeal, clearing the way for Pilgrim to continue construction on the new waste site.

Aerial photo of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Mass., taken from a kite by activists. (Courtesy Cape Cod Bay Watch)

Aerial photo of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Mass., taken from a kite by activists. (Courtesy Cape Cod Bay Watch)

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — Since 1972, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant here has generated prodigious amounts of electricity, tons of radioactive waste and plenty of controversy.

Wednesday night, the debate heats up as the Plymouth zoning board votes on whether to allow Entergy — the plant’s owner — to continue with construction on a new waste storage site. The vote could stall or even stop the nuclear power plant for good.

Security, And Public Scrutiny

A few weeks ago, anti-nuclear activists — with the help from the law firm EcoLaw — flew a kite with a camera over the plant. They wanted to see what Entergy was building on the 1,600-acre site along Cape Cod Bay.

“This is the first time in a long time that citizens have pulled back the blanket of secrecy that has allowed Entergy to operate without much public scrutiny on the local level,” said attorney Meg Sheehan, who was born and raised in Plymouth.

Pilgrim is surrounded by double chain link fences, razor wire, motion detectors and 30-foot guard posts.

The first of numerous security gates at the entrance of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant. (Bruce Gellerman/WBUR)

The first of numerous security gates at the entrance of  Pilgrim Nuclear. (Bruce Gellerman/WBUR)

If you want to get inside to see firsthand what the kite camera saw, you need special permission. You must agree in advance that any photos you take are cleared by the head of security. And, like all visitors, you must pass a series of checkpoints.

Security has always been tight at our nation’s nuclear power plants, but since 9/11 there are new procedures and anti-terrorist defenses — some hidden, some in plain view. There are biometric devices that scan your hand, explosive-sniffing machines and super sensitive metal detectors. It’s like airport security but a lot tougher.

“The idea of our security is delay,” said David Tarantino, Entergy’s communications manager. “We have to prove to the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] that we are capable of defending this place from armed attackers with evil intent, and they have insider help. And to test that we actually have exercises where we bring in retired [Navy] SEALs and they scout the place around and they try to actually storm the place.”

Tarantino says the closest the SEALs have reached is the turbine building, never the reactor.

All the security measures — the mock attacks and multiple checkpoints — are designed to protect the building where we are not allowed to go. It houses the heart of the plant — the nuclear reactor. The reactor core contains the radioactive assemblies that make the steam that turn the turbines and generate 14 percent of the electricity produced in Massachusetts.

Pilgrim’s reactor is a GE Mark 1 — the same make and model used at Fukushima, Japan, where a natural disaster two years ago led to a nuclear nightmare, a mass evacuation and the creation of an 18-mile wide exclusion zone. But Tarantino says there are important differences between Fukushima and Pilgrim.

“They had aboveground diesel tanks,” he explained. “When that tsunami came in it wiped away their tanks. Our tanks are underground in waterproof containers.”

But as bad as Fukushima was, the biggest fear wasn’t a reactor meltdown. It was that nuclear waste pools would rupture and drain, exposing spent fuel rods that would ignite, sending a massive amount of radioactivity into the air.

Running Out Of Room

At Pilgrim — like Fukushima — spent fuel is stored in a pool high above the reactor. Tarantino says the pool contains all the nuclear waste ever produced by Pilgrim’s reactor.

“We have 40 years worth of spent fuel in the reactor building,” Tarantino said. “Fuel has never left the site.”

But that was never the way it was supposed to be. Originally, Pilgrim’s spent fuel pool — just 30 feet wide, 40 feet long and 40 feet deep — was designed to temporarily hold about 900 spent fuel assemblies. Today, the waste pool at Pilgrim holds nearly 4,000. Tarantino says so far the waste has been manageable.

“When you think about how small it really is, you know it’s a swimming pool. It has 5-foot-thick walls on it, but it’s essentially a lot of energy for very little waste,” Tarantino said. “I always like to think, where is the waste from coal plants? It’s in the air. Our waste, yeah it’s radioactive, but it’s contained.”

But Pilgrim is rapidly running of room. In two years there won’t be any space left in the pool and Pilgrim will have to shut down unless a new waste storage site can be built outside of the reactor building.

A Safe Alternative?

Workers have already begun constructing a road to transport huge containers — called dry cask storage — out of the reactor building to a special concrete pad nearby. This is this construction that opponents were trying to photograph with their kite camera.

A construction crew works on a road that will lead to a special concrete pad designed to hold 40 dry cask nuclear waste storage containers. (Jared Bennett for WBUR)

A crew works on a road that will lead to a special concrete pad designed to hold 40 dry cask nuclear waste storage containers. (Jared Bennett for WBUR)

Each cask, when filled with spent fuel rods, will weigh nearly 335,000 pounds. Tarantino says that’s why they need to build the thick, reinforced concrete pad.

“We like the geographic location for the pad here — well protected and close enough so that you don’t have to build a hugely expensive haul path for a long distance,” he explained.

The owners of Pilgrim, the town of Plymouth and anti-nuclear activists agree loading the radioactive waste into dry casks and hauling them to a concrete pad is urgently needed. But that’s where the agreement ends.

The town’s building inspector already granted Pilgrim a permit to start building the concrete pad, but opponents now want the board to overturn that decision, saying the pad needs a special permit that requires public hearings.

“Dry cask storage is going to happen, but is it going to be as safe as possible? Because we know it is going to be there for a long time,” said Mary Lampert, who has lead the anti-nuclear organization Pilgrim Watch for 25 years. “So you can either do it right or you can do it the cheap way.”

Lampert’s husband James is the attorney leading the legal effort to require a special permit. He says residents want the concrete pad moved to higher ground because of global warming.

“Nobody knows how much seawater is going to rise. Ten years, maybe not enough. Fifty years, 100 years, 150? No one also knows how long that thing is going to be there,” James Lampert said. “Are those casks going to be under water?”

Local bylaws and history aren’t clear. In the past, Pilgrim needed special town permits to build a parking lot and a weather tower, but a regular permit to construct the plant’s administration building.

A Broader Issue

The local zoning board wouldn’t be dealing with this issue had the federal government kept its promise 30 years ago to build a permanent repository for the nation’s commercial nuclear waste. The federal government spent $10 billion drilling holes into Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but amid public outcry, scientific concern and political controversy, the Obama administration shut it down before an ounce of waste could be stored there.

“I mean, they built this huge repository and nothing is going in it. It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars,” said Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray, a resident of Plymouth. She is leading the fight to get the federal government to find a permanent place for nuclear waste.

Murray says that keeping radioactive waste in Plymouth’s pools is dangerous. She’s written letters to Congress demanding they deal with the problem.

“I’d sue everybody,” Murray said. “I mean, I don’t care who. I want people to pay attention to the fact we have these nuclear pools just sitting there. So this is a big question for all of us.”

While federal and state governments try to figure out what to do with the nation’s nuclear waste, a local ruling about a concrete pad could determine the fate of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant. Plymouth’s zoning board is set to vote Wednesday night.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on wbur.org.
  • Norman Pierce

    There is so little coverage of this highly radioactive waste site just 40 miles from Boston.
    Regarding the security of the plant from terrorism, anyone can fly over it and be gone before authorities could react.
    The problem in these Mark I reactors is a loss of power; it doesn’t have to be caused by a tsunami.

    • energy_guy

      There is little coverage of the highly radioactive waste that coal plants produce either. Scientific American covered it many years ago, it is about 100x more radiation into the environment in the fly ash and air plus of course CO2 emissions is at least 100 times that of nuclear.

      see “coal 100 times the radiation”

      Lets not forget all the other toxic stuff in coal emissions too, lots of mercury and other heavy metals. I don’t see the greens ever campaigning so hard against coal though, turning a blind eye to a far worse problem, why is that? So they favor nat gas, but that still has half of the CO2 emission of coal.

      see “CO2 emissions in grams per kWh” Wikipedia link

      And the mining of coal is millions of tons per GWe year while nuclear requires only 100s of tons of fuel material in the current once through cycle. In the future, breeders really only need to fission 1 ton of fuel per GWe year and that could come from the “spent fuel” and the depleted uranium set aside, no mining at all, gets rid of the current nuclear waste problem as well.

      A vote against nuclear is really a vote for coal or nat gas, and more CO2 more global warming with sea rise and acidification.

      If you want to understand what happens when greens get their wish, take a look at Germany. They shut down 7GWe of nuclear, built 30GWe of solar and 30GWe of wind too. So does 60GWe of renewable energy make more useful energy than 7GWe of base load nuclear, of course not. The capacity factor of their solar is only 11% so it makes the same annual energy as 3GWe of nuclear and mostly in the summer. Their wind capacity is closer to 20% so that makes 6GWe, and both of these are intermittent. In the mean time Germany builds 20+ new “clean” coal plants. They still have to shut down another 8GWe of nuclear to prove the foolishness of their green agenda. For the same amount of money they have spent on all this, they could have just built enough new nuclear to power the entire EU and have much lowered EU CO2 emissions, but the greens have no common sense.

      • TomTobin

        You talk about greens like they are a disease. One size does not fit all. There is as much consensus among ‘greens’ as there is among ‘republicans’, ‘schoolchildren’, ‘television viewers’, and any other artificial segmentation of a human population. There are plenty of alternatives available…wind, solar, tidal power, geothermal, and the thorium nuclear power plants. Your polarizing language undermines your argument.

        • energy_guy

          The net result of the green party of Germany is toxic coal building, so yes when the population make decisions without understanding the ramifications, the results can be dire. Those of us that know where the facts can be found and understand energy, also consider ourselves green, but look at what happens to the makers of Pandora, the hard greens are out to destroy any support for nuclear even for thorium that has few of the issues that concern them.

          I’m glad you have heard of thorium too.

          The wind. solar, tidal power, geothermal are really all about grabbing at straws, they are energy diffuse, and as Dr MacKay says, make only an avg of 5W/sq m. To make 1GWe year round takes at least 60 sq miles of desert. As I said elsewhere, US energy consumption at 10.5kWth (or equiv to 3.5kWe) per capita, it isn’t going to be matched by any of those RE sources, and they are mostly intermittent. Storage is simply too expensive at several $100 per 10c (1kWh) worth of production.

          The hard greens speak with few facts in their hand, yet is easily available from DOE, EIA, Wikipedia.

          As a resident of MA, I certainly do not want Pilgrim replaced by coal or gas even if a tiny part of that is offset by wind.

          • TomTobin

            Fracking is worse than coal, and the methane released inadvertently is 30 times more effective at heating the planet than carbon dioxide. I agree with you, that the best way to get rid of the spent fuel from Pilgrim is to fuel a thorium reactor. That would also be the greenest energy generation currently available. Two birds with one stone. If developers were smart, they would wrack their brains to devise a storage option the local people felt was safe enough to live with.

          • energy_guy

            I would probably agree with you on the nat gas methane issue, I’m just wondering when it will become more generally understood because it doesn’t get much coverage.

            Indeed, thorium with molten salt reactors could power the world for 1000s of years even at US levels of energy use for all humanity, and perhaps in a 100 years we will have fusion for eternity!

            An irony is that some of the fusion researchers are proposing to use molten salts too and molten salt also makes solar thermal have near practical storage with almost 24 hour output, but still at very high cost and land use.


    • X-Ray

      The waste site is not radioactive, only the contents of the casks.

  • MrLongleg

    I live in Plymouth and really hope they shut this thing down for good. The reactor was designed for a thirty year life time – that has passed by now. Nobody will be able to cover the damages if something happens there. The head of the national reactor safety commission resigned because he opposed the decision to prolongate the operational permit of the plant. That by itself has a fishy smell to it and is a red flag for me. The hole system regarding nuclear energy is corrupt. If they don;t have a permanent storage space for the waste it is irresponsible to continue the operation.

    • energy_guy

      And what do you think could replace it that can make the same amount of energy 24/365 continuously with out emitting vastly more CO2. It hasn’t been invented yet.

      I live in MA a bit further away than you but replacing Pilgrim is going to mean burning more coal or gas. I’d far rather live near a nuclear plant than a coal plant, (I used to live near Yankee Maine). Even the Union of concerned Scientists has the figures to back up the various risks in life and they aren’t friends of nuclear either.

      The former boss of the NRC was a radical anti nuke activist from the beginning with no credible knowledge of nuclear energy put their by Pres Obama and Sen Ed Markey an avid anti nuclear senator. The remainder of the NRC is made up of nuclear professionals with decades of experience that always outvoted him. He never should have had that job in the first place. The new boss has a background in nuclear engineering and was appointed with bi partisan support.

      • MrLongleg

        I guess the former boss was a responsible person. Who is compensating the victims of Fukushima for their damages? Nobody is going to repay them the real estate value of their home which has plunged to zero because their former home area is inhabitable now. If there is a disaster in the Pilgrims plant nobody is gonna compensate Plymouth residents for their losses. The companies running nuclear plants are raking in the profits while the risks have to be taken by society and the people living close to the plants.

        I have taken action and put Solar panels on my roof. I am producing now more energy than I use, I understand that you still need plants to produce energy when the sun is not shining, but every green produced kwH helps. Lets put the billions used for risky nuclear technology and invest them into researching efficient storage technologies for electrical energy. Then we could end up with a completely green energy production. (Just imaging putting Solar panels on a large scale in the desert south west)

        I can see that Nuclear plants have CO2 advantages. But we should build new plants with fail safe designs, which are available now and get rid of problematic designs like the 40 year old Plymouth plant. If we build a nuclear plant with a designed life time of 30 years we should make sure that we shut it down after 30 years. The older the plant the bigger the risk that something goes wrong. But of course before we build new plants we need a credible solution for Nuclear waste handling which is not even in sight. And we need a system that fully compensates victims in the case of a catastrophe. For Plymouth county alone the damages could go into the hundreds of billions.

        • energy_guy

          The Japanese gov and Tepco was incompetent in not protecting the backup supplies, they did know about tsunamis and their historical threat. Plymouth is not going to have a tsunami. We may have the same old BWR, but a lot has happened since then in additions to safety equipment.

          Solar panels can make only a small dent in energy supply. The US uses 10^20J in thermal energy each year, convert to electrical that is about 3.5KWe per person. Your roof perhaps makes 6kWe peak or <1kWe avg year round. For the US, roof tops can not cover more than a few percent of energy demand. We would need at least 400 sq m of panels per person of solar to match fossil fuels and nuclear with no way to store the energy. See "LLNL energy flow graph" for data on energy inputs and use.

          If everyone does roof top solar, there won't be subsidies, so it will have to be true costs born by every buyer and the grid can not handle such a situation. Once you go past a certain point, solar production swings become negative demand the grid has to match with fossil power.

          Germany is the best case study in wide spread solar and wind adoption, much of it private. So they installed 30GWe of peak solar power for about $200B or more yet it makes the same output as only 3GWe base load nuclear coal or gas, the capacity factor is only 11-12% of peak. That makes every avg GWe cost about $60B. The renters pay much higher electricity bills, the panel owners get all the subsidies and feed in benefits. A massive transfer of wealth from renters to panel owners, so yeh, some people love it.

          They did the same for wind, 30GW that makes maybe 6GWe. To cover the intermittent nature of both they now build 20 new "clean" coal plants, and use Russian gas too. Their CO2 output is twice that of France.

          I agree we should build new nuclear plants too, the newer ones are much safer than the old ones just like airplanes are better today than decades ago. But you know what, when an old plant is shut down by anti nuclear activism, it never ever gets replaced by a newer one, it gets replaced by coal or gas some where else on the grid.

          We actually do know what to do with nuclear waste which mostly isn't waste at all. Todays nuclear cycle is a lazy lower cost "once through" cycle that only extracts about 1% of the energy from the fuel, the "waste" is still 99% fissionable. Breeder reactors can "burn" down this waste and release all the energy content. We also have better designs based on thorium and molten salt reactors which produce waste that is at background after 300 years and only 1 ton fuel makes 1GWe for a year. Amazing stuff if only people knew about it. Cheers.

          • MrLongleg

            You are obviously a paid lobbyist, I know that the energy companies pay people to influence the opinion of peoples on the web. You have some good points and at the same time you are not answering some key questions.

            You won’t convince me that incompetency will never happen in the US, because it has happened before. (3 miles island, eg., where an even bigger disaster was only avoided by pure chance). It is still a fact, that if something happens to the Plymouth plant nobody will compensate the damages. So the locals carry the risk and Entergy gets the profit. That is a thing to be solved. A tsunami can happen in Plymouth too, it is not very probable, but it can happen (e.g. a big meteor splashes into the Atlantic) The Japanese knew about Tsunamis, but they could not imagine such a big one. The problem is that the potential damages are enormous if something goes wrong.

            Regarding waste – where are the waste burning reactors – I haven’t seen any go online. I only see that the waste pile at Plymouth is increasing every year – never has a burned fuel rod been removed from the site. So in theory there are potential solutions, but they are light years from implementation.

            My roof makes about 16 MWh per year, it is a big system, but yes, Solar alone won’t solve the problem. There are promising research projects, eg. use bacteria and electricity and CO2 from the Atmosphere to produce Methan gas, which then could be burned in a gas electrical plant later on. That would be a climate neutral perfect storage solution. It is still in the beginnings, but that is where we should spend resources to get results. Of course newer fail safe reactor designs are also a good idea. But I do not trust the providers, they are not even able to provide a Hurricane safe electrical grid (which is pretty much standard in Europe), because that would cost “too much” on the short term. The cables are all above the surface like in a third world country.

          • energy_guy

            Paid lobbyist, nope, I’m an electrical engineer outside the energy industry, I can do the math on energy because that’s what engineers do, numbers. I just don’t want to see more coal or gas plants get built either pure or as backup for REs, but they will anyway. And I certainly want the nuclear industry to move away from the current once through cycle PWR and BWR too and onto much better cleaner and intrinsically walk away safe reactors but they don’t show much interest in that. Many of the hardware companies in energy play all sides of the energy business, if people want nuclear, coal or gas, they build that to order, it’s up to policy makers and public opinion.

            You are right though, the fossil fuel companies pay lots of people to surf the web and defend coal and nat gas too and deny climate change, so we are doomed anyway with that sea rise thing. Koch even took over PBS Nova funding to control the science message. I hear they even want to buy up some big newspapers. The nuclear industry is about as quite as a mouse. as far as I can see.

            As for greens, I wouldn’t accuse many of them of being in the pay of the coal lobby either, no that takes a certain kind of person, maybe a lawyer type. But there are a few very prominent so called green energy experts that think that nat gas will save the day and take good money from the gas industry to denigrate nuclear at every turn, ie RMI and friends plus the former NRC guy. Obama’s new sec of energy also likes gas too. And the fossil industry is very good at managing the message these days right in the middle of the news adverts.

            I can’t say much about compensating people in disasters because I don’t know much about it. There is only one eastern tsunami risk that is plausible to me, perhaps half the canary island slipping into the Atlantic but we would have huge warning of that. I’d agree that if a city is made uninhabitable by an energy accident the residents should be insured for that by the gov. But with coal & CO2 the damage is evenly spread around.

            As for waste burning reactors, those have to be either fast breeder reactors usually using molten metals as the coolant or thermal reactors that might use molten salts. There are a few of the former in Russia and China either in operation or under construction which would burn up plutonium. GE/Hitachi has the Prism design that it wants to build that could help countries burn up unwanted weapons material. The molten salt reactor was developed in the 60s by the same scientist (Alvin Weinberg) that patented the PWR. He knew which was safer and was fired for saying so at ORNL. China is now developing that as well, US tech being redeveloped for their benefit, it would fully burn up thorium, uranium and plutonium and the other TRUs to 300 year waste. When it works it will be put to use to heat process shale oil, sigh.

            To use CO2 from the environment, it makes far more sense to take it from the oceans where it is already 140 times denser and easier to extract. The US Navy is exploring using a nuclear carrier to make jet fuel out at sea. If that could be expanded, syn fuels could be made carbon neutral and it solves the energy storage problem too.

            On the grid issue, I came from the UK where most all low voltage cables are buried. Seeing storms here take cables down like clock work made me wonder. I read that buried power lines lose a small fraction of their energy per x miles and since US homes have several times the street frontage of EU homes, that would further compound the losses. But yes it does kind of look third world, and they are are buried in the trees!

          • MrLongleg

            Good discussion – we are not too far apart. My point is that I do not trust at all the nuclear industry – short time profit goes over expensive safety measures.

          • energy_guy

            Indeed, bye for now!

        • X-Ray

          From where do you get your electricity from at night or when it cloudy, snowing or overcast?

    • X-Ray

      There is a fully complete permanent nuclear waste storage facility available already, paid for by electric rate payers. Obama shut it down on purely political reasons.

  • R. Fink

    The Fukushima nuclear disaster (the exact same design of pilgrim)
    showed us once again that nuclear reactors are fundamentally dangerous. Not only do they cause significant damage to the environment, the health of populations and to national economies, the heavy financial cost of a meltdown is inevitably borne by the public, not by the companies that designed, built, and operated the plants. None of the world’s 436 nuclear reactors are immune to human errors, natural disasters, or any of the many other serious incidents
    that could cause a disaster. Millions of people who live near nuclear reactors are at risk.

    The lives of hundreds of thousands of people continue to be affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, especially the 160,000 who fled their homes because of radioactive contamination, and continue to live in limbo without fair, just, and
    timely compensation. And new reports now show that the plant is still leaking large amounts of radioactive material into the Pacific.

    To compare the dangers of nuclear waste to coal is a not so veiled way of
    trying to distract from the real long term dangers to the residents of the area. The fuel storage problem is just one symptom of the fact that the plant was originally designed to operate for 20 years but is now over 40 years old. It’s well past time to shut it down.

    • energy_guy

      And what do you propose to replace it with that can also power 14% of Ma
      with continuous base load power?

      Scientific American says coal emits 100 times as much radiation as any nuclear plant for the same energy output plus of course 100 times the CO2.
      Coal does infinitely more damage to people lives than nuclear ever will. By focusing on perceived threats of nuclear, you are giving a pass to coal and gas which still has half the CO2 output as coal.

      Coal really does contains thorium, and uranium which end up in the air and fly ash heaps plus mercury and many other toxics. All water has 3ppb of uranium in it too and the rocks and dirt also have these in them, it’s part of nature.

      • X-Ray

        Better to have a few tons of segregated nuclear waste than millions of tons of fossil fuel exhaust (including CO2) dumped into the atmosphere even when every thing is working right.

    • X-Ray

      The Japanese nuclear power plant failure was caused by their failure to protect the backup (diesel) owerplant from the effects of the tusnami. The power plant was operation but without the power to control it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christina-Macpherson/100001582350337 Christina Macpherson

    What I can’t understand is why on earth people want to keep on making the toxic stuff – seeing that there is no way to permanently protect the world’s environment from this man made poison?

    • energy_guy

      This “toxic stuff” is nothing in comparison to what fossil fuels produce by a factor of a hundred for the same energy output. And we actually do know how to destroy this toxic stuff and be safe in 300 years with breeder reactors that would be about a hundred times as efficient as the once through reactors we have today.

      Search for “death by TWh”, it gives the death rates for various energy sources, nuclear is the safest energy source ever used with the smallest environmental footprint.

      Background radioactivity in most places is generally higher than at a nuclear plant, it’s been here since the earth was formed from star dust from a supernova. The sun will destroy the earth long before the earth’s natural radioactivity is even slightly diminished.

  • Dr. A. Cannara

    Interesting to see a complaint about security around a nuclear plant — isn’t that what we all want?

    Also interesting to see critics criticize storage of ‘waste’ fuel without understanding that it’s not waste at all. Only about 5% of what’s in each of those nice dry casks is unusable in advanced reactors, as others are building around the world, and we will. Of course, the French have known this for years, because they’re actually educated on nuclear power and acting responsibly on emissions, unlike Germany…

    And, that 5% or so is almost all disappearing so fast, it’ll be non-radioactive Cerium, Zirconium… in a few hundred years, just as the products from Ma Nature’s fission reactors in Oklo, Gabon are long gone — yes, fission & Plutonium are natural.

    Interesting also that the ‘activists’ fail to study nuclear power and storage, so don’t realize the dry casks stored at N. Anna plant, during the recent large quake in the East, were unfazed. Just as they are out here in Calif. when we have our many quakes.

    Our descendents are indeed watching, as naive protesters actually kill fellow American by blindly opposing the safest, non-emitting form of power ever deployed by mankind. Yes, some of the 13,000 Americans the EPA says we kill each year via coal, and some by gas, are laid at the feet of foolish ‘activists’ who, for example, shut down Shoreham over 26 years ago, in a region 1/3 served by coal power.

    Do the math.

    Some refs…
    http://tinyurl.com/42wvr9l (1998)
    http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/pressrels/2013/unisinf475.html (2013)
    http://cen.acs.org/articles/91/web/2013/04/Nuclear-Power-Prevents-Deaths-Causes.html (averted death)

    Indeed, even my own Sierra Club’s policy is responsible for some American deaths from coal/gas caused directly by my foolish club’s anti-nuclear policy change in 1986. Facts are tough for some calling themselves ‘environmentalists’.
    Dr. A. Cannara
    650 400 3071

  • Mike Carey

    Remember James Hansen? He’s the hero of climate change science in Colorado.
    Check out this Wikipedia page on the Health Effects of Nuclear power:

    Health effects
    “In March 2013, climate scientists Pushker Kharecha and James Hansen published a peer-reviewed paper in Environmental Science & Technology, entitled Prevented mortality and greenhouse gas emissions from historical and projected nuclear power.

    “It estimated an average of 1.8 million lives saved worldwide by the use of nuclear power instead of fossil fuels between 1971 and 2009.

    “The paper examined mortality levels per unit of electrical energy produced from fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) as well as nuclear power. Kharecha and Hansen assert that their results are probably conservative, as they analyze only deaths and do not include a range of serious but non-fatal respiratory illnesses, cancers, hereditary effects and heart problems, nor do they include the fact that fossil fuel combustion in developing countries tends to have a higher carbon and air pollution footprint than in developed countries.

    “The authors also conclude that the emission of some 64 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent have been avoided by nuclear power between 1971 and 2009, and that between 2010 and 2050, nuclear could additionally avoid up to 80 to 240 billion tonnes.”

    ES&T Article on Prevented Mortality:

    Response to Comment on Prevented Mortality:

  • CComry

    “I’d sue everybody,” Murray said. “I mean, I don’t care who.”

    Oh, really? Ms. Murray only cares because the plant is in her backyard. If she lived anywhere else, she’d ask, “Nuclear Plymouth, who?” Just another idiot politician. Ignore her.

  • chesterlaustinjr

    There is nothing clean about nuclear power. The spent fuel rods are the most visible example of nuclear waste, but what is produced by nuclear reactors is invisible. Nuclear power is destructive and the waste which was deposited into the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from 1945-1973 by Russia and the U.S.of A. has literally destroyed the fishing grounds in Cape Cod Bay, the Atlantic fishing grounds, and is the main cause for the melting of the icecaps of the north pole, and might I add Global Warming. The recent meltdowns of these same reactors in Japan are equivalent to hundreds of nuclear bombs going off, and the radio-active runoff of water still being poured into the sea at Fukashima will no doubt destroy the Pacific tuna spawning grounds with nuclear radiation. People cannot eat tuna that is radio-active. Nuclear power should be stopped now because there still maybe hope that this deadly power can be limited. But if electricity is more important and the love of money is more important than the life of humankind than humankind is doomed.

    • X-Ray

      Do you have any reference for any of your wild assertions?

Most Popular