Safe Dose of Radiation.
Radiation exposure can cause cell death, genetic mutations, cancers,
birth defects, and reproductive, immune and endocrine system disorders.
Permissible Releases Do Not Mean Safe.
Government regulations allow “permissible” levels of contamination.
However, since there is no safe threshold to exposure to radiation,
permissible does not mean safe.
NRC’s allowable radioactive release dose from a nuclear reactor to members of the public is 100 millirem per year to the total body.
The National Academy of Sciences Biological Effects of Radiation (BEIR
VII) Report published June 2005 reported that the
lifetime fatal cancer risk for 100 mrem/yr is (1) in (175) and the cancer incidence risk is
(1) in (100). Pilgrim claims to
release a tiny fraction of the permissible dose; if true, why does
industry fight changing the standard to a far lower number to better
protect public health?
Radioactive Releases Occur Routinely. It
doesn’t take an accident at Pilgrim to release radioactivity into our
air, water, and soil. As a matter of routine operation, radiation is
released from Pilgrim in the form of liquid, gaseous, and solid
radioactive wastes. Solid radioactive wastes include anything from
laundry (considered low-level waste) to spent fuel rods (considered
Radioactivity released includes over 100 different isotopes only
produced in reactors and atomic bombs, including Strontium-89,
Strontium-90, Cesium-137, and Iodine-131. Humans ingest them either by
inhalation or ingestion, through food.
Each radionuclide seeks different parts of the human
body; iodine seeks out the thyroid gland, strontium clumps to the bone
and teeth (like calcium), and cesium is distributed throughout the soft
tissues. All are carcinogenic. Each decays at varying rates; for
example, iodine-131 has a half-life of eight days, and remains in the
body only a few weeks. Strontium-90 has a half-life of 28.7 years, and
thus remains in bone and teeth for many years.
These radionuclides are different from “background”
radiation found in nature in cosmic rays and the earth's surface.
Background radiation, while still harmful, does not specifically attack
the thyroid gland, bones, or other organs.
Accidents Can Happen/Releases Have Been High.
For example, we know that Pilgrim had extremely high emissions due to
defective fuel, mechanical problems and lack of filtration. These
problems culminated in June 1982 when Pilgrim blew its filters and
released contaminated resin material into our neighborhoods. The
licensee’s own Environmental Radiation Reports for 1982 showed for
example, Cesium -137, (1,000,000) times higher than expected in milk
tested at the indicator sampling farm 12 miles west of the reactor and
no elevation at the control station, 22 miles away; Cesium-137 again
(1,000,000) higher in vegetation samples from indicator farms .7 miles
and 1.5 miles from the reactor. Elevated releases have been reported in
subsequent years. Typically the licensee has blamed the increase on
“atmosphere fallout” that ignores a critical fact – no similar increases
were experienced at the control stations. How fallout, like a smart
bomb, was able to find Pilgrim’s indicator locations while
simultaneously missing the control stations is beyond comprehension.
As you will read below, higher off site radiation
detected is now “explained away” or hidden from the public by:
not only continuing to blame nuclear weapons testing; but by locating
many “control stations” very close to the reactor, in Duxbury and
Kingston Bays and Plymouth Harbor – really, we know that they are
Pilgrim’s Environmental Radiation Reports
Licensee Charged With Tracking Their Own Releases.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission relies upon self-reporting and
computer modeling from reactor operators to track radioactive releases
and their projected dispersion. A significant portion of the
environmental monitoring data is extrapolated – virtual, not real. What
is put into the computer model, assumptions, will effect the answer that
Radioactive Releases Are NOT Fully Accounted For by the Licensee.
Radioactive releases from Pilgrim’s routine operation often are not
fully detected or reported. Accidental releases may not be completely
verified or documented.
Finding Effluent Reports
Effluent reports on the web