Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station
Boiling Water Reactor, General Electric Mark I.
Size: 690 MWE
Approximate Cost Construction: $200 million
License Expires: June 8, 2012
Re-License Application: 2005, extend operations to June
Location: Pilgrim is located on 250 acres of a 1600 acre
total plot on Rocky Hill Road,
Plymouth, Massachusetts - overlooking Massachusetts Bay in Southeastern
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
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
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.
of an Accident or Terrorist Attack
CORE MELT - CONSEQUENCES
of Reactor Accident
U.S. Nuclear Power Plants (CRAC-2),
Sandia National Laboratory, 1982.
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
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
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
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.