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Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Type: Boiling Water Reactor, General Electric Mark I.
Size: 690 MWE

Ordered: 08/07/65 
Approximate Cost Construction: $200 million
Opened: 12/09/72 
License Expires: June 8, 2012 
Re-License Application: 2005, extend operations to June 8, 2032

Location: Pilgrim is located on 250 acres of a 1600 acre total plot on Rocky Hill Road, 
Plymouth, Massachusetts - overlooking Massachusetts Bay in Southeastern Massachusetts. Over 
100,000 people live within the ten-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) radius. The area is 
the fastest growing in the state - over 600,000 live on Cape Cod, directly South of Pilgrim. 

Owner/Operator: New Orleans-based Entergy bought Pilgrim in November 1999. Entergy Corporation, 2004, is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States with annual revenues of over $9 billion and approximately 14,000 employees. In 1999, Entergy paid $80 million for the Pilgrim nuclear plant near Plymouth, Mass., buying it from Boston Edison. Only $13 million of the price was for the facility and the 1,600-acre plant site. The remainder of the price was for the nuclear fuel.

Entergy Nuclear Generation Co: Entergy set up a separate limited liability and multi-tiered 
holding company to own and operate Pilgrim - Entergy Nuclear Generation Co. This 
organizational structure is good for Entergy shareholders but does not bode well for the 
safety of Pilgrim’s neighbors. It can shield the New Orleans-based parent corporation and 
their shareholders from liabilities. If there is an accident, equipment failure, safety 
upgrade, or unusual maintenance need at Pilgrim the parent/owner essentially can walk away, 
by declaring bankruptcy for Pilgrim (a separate entity) without jeopardizing its other 
investments. Because of the hazardous nature of nuclear power plants, this limited liability 
arrangement is extremely problematic. Safety would be better assured if the owners and 
shareholders were held liable.


Consequences of an Accident or Terrorist Attack



Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences
U.S. Nuclear Power Plants (CRAC-2),
Sandia National Laboratory, 1982

“Peak” refers to the highest calculated values – it does not mean worst case scenario. This is due to uncertainties in the meteorological modeling acknowledged by Sandia. The model only considered one year’s worth of data and does not model for precipitation beyond a 30-mile radius. This is significant because the highest consequences are predicted to occur when a radioactive plume encounters rain over a densely populated area.

Peak Early Fatalities are deaths that result within the first year. The red area represents the zone for peak fatalities. This radius is the largest calculated distance from the plant at which early fatalities are expected to occur for a core melt.

Peak Early Injuries are radiation-induced injuries occurring in the first year that require hospitalization of other medical attention – such as sterility, thyroid nodules, vomiting and cataracts. The orange area represents the zone for peak early injuries. This radius is the largest calculated distance from the plant at which early injuries are expected to occur for a core melt.

Peak Cancer Deaths are predicted to occur over a lifetime. However, this is not the case with leukemia which is assumed to have occurred within the first 30 years following an accident.

Spent Fuel Accident - In the case of a spent fuel pool accident, red, orange and yellow areas would experience more than 10 times the radioactivity released in Chernobyl, and the consequences, 10 times worse!


CRAC II's above figures are conservative because:

1.  census data from 1970 was used;

2.  it was assumed that the entire 10-mile EPZ would be evacuated within at most six hours after issuance of the evacuation order - the current evacuation times are longer due to traffic congestion;

3.  they sampled only 100 weather sequences out of over 8 thousand (an entire year's worth) - a method which underestimates the peak value occurring over the course of a year by about 30%;

4.  they assumed aggressive medical treatment for all victims of acute radiation exposure in developing estimates of the number of early fatalities, and employed a now obsolete correlation between radiation dose and cancer risk that underestimated the risk by a factor of 4 relative to current models.