Environmental Impact


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Global Warming: Global warming brings with it hurricanes, storms of increased intensity and duration, erosion and sea level rise. There has been a 100% increase in intensity and duration of hurricanes and tropical storms since the 1970's, according to a 2005 MIT study.  And the Boston Globe reported in US lags on plans for climate change by Beth Daley (April 5, 2007) that, “In the last decade alone, Boston has experienced two "100-year storms," so named because storms with that much rain are predicted to happen only once every century. In the last decade, there have also been three "50-year" storms.” These trends are increasing, not decreasing.

Pilgrim is located on a coastline, at low elevation, subject to these increasingly severe storms and erosion. Given these climate events, Rocky Hill Road, Plymouth is a very poor location for a nuclear reactor and storage of highly toxic radioactive waste.

Implications, some examples:

Emergency Planning: During severe storms roads flood and may become impassible. This has real implications for evacuation. Consider, for example, Saquish and Gurnet that are at the tip of Duxbury's 7 mile long barrier beach; accessible by a back dirt road that has experienced wash-outs in previous storms. "Getting out of Dodge" in a hurry reduces consequences in a radiological disaster; severe weather impedes evacuation times. Severe storms often take out power and communication lines. Communication is key to planning in any disaster.

Buried Waste Onsite: So called “low level” radioactive waste was allowed to be buried on site. All "hot spots" have not been cleaned up, risking tidal surges washing contaminants out into Cape Cod Bay.

Corrosion: Tidal surges washing salt water over buried components will accelerate corrosion - salt and moisture are key factors causing corrosion.

Station Black Out: Reactors depend on outside power.

In-take Coolant Piping: Severe weather, heavy winds and surging tides can drive large clumps of seaweed and debris and threaten to clog the screens of the intake cooling water pipe; and the winds and waves also may split large sections of seaweed into pieces small enough to pass through a filter over the pipe that feeds ocean water to the plant’s condenser and damage the cooling system.



Published on August 28, 1998
by Scott Allen, Globe Staff

New England appears likely to dodge the worst of Hurricane Bonnie, but if sea levels continue to rise as a result of global warming, the destruction wrought by future storms could wipe out many seaside oases, according to a sobering animation released yesterday by an environmental research group. The video, produced by the National Environmental Trust, suggests that a three-foot rise in sea levels -- which could happen within 100 years at projected rates -- ...

Earthquake Zone: Scientists report that a big earthquake could hit Massachusetts at any time. 


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