Entergy Nuclear Site Maps for Pilgrim “Cut and Paste” Making Sound Decisions Impossible: Local Group Wants Updates
Jones River Watershed Association (JRWA) of Kingston wants the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Entergy Corporation, owner and operator of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, to provide an updated site assessment for the Pilgrim site. In a letter to the NRC dated February 12, 2015, JRWA states that “Thus far, the information and maps that Entergy has provided to your agency is misleading and inaccurate.”
The JRWA letter cites a report by Northeastern Geospatial Research Professionals, Inc. (NGRP) that identifies elevation inaccuracies in Entergy’s site plans for Pilgrim’s infrastructure and nuclear waste storage facility. The group says the inaccuracies raise concerns about climate change patterns such as flooding and storm impacts that need to be taken into account.
In the past month, Entergy has moved nuclear waste out of Pilgrim’s spent fuel pool and into “dry casks” atop a concrete pad located as close as 175 feet from the shoreline. Entergy cannot provide the public with assurance that the waste will not be stored there for hundreds of years, or longer, due to the lack of a national deep geological repository for nuclear waste. JRWA says the new site survey is needed to ensure the future integrity of the facility.
Severe storms like the recent Winter Storm “Juno” are reflective of climate change patterns and exacerbate operational problems at Pilgrim. Juno hit Pilgrim head-on and the reactor was forced to shut down for ten days. Decision making by Entergy and NRC about the impacts of such storms is now based on data going back to the 1960s. Current plans are a cut and paste from plans beginning in 1968, which JRWA says undermines decisions made by Entergy and the NRC in today’s changing environment.
According to JRWA’s Executive Director Pine duBois, “Professional on the ground surveys are the first step in any good planning, and a requirement in every large infrastructure investment. Somehow Entergy has sidestepped this basic requirement and has provided only snap shot views of limited building projects that lack environmental context. In order to evaluate their vulnerability to damage from the ocean they need to provide standard professional survey now.”
At the Plymouth Board of Selectmen meeting on February 10, JRWA asked town officials to support the request to Entergy and the NRC for a new site survey. Entergy is required to submit an updated flooding reevaluation report to the NRC on March 12, 2015 and JRWA says the information is needed before that report can be finalized.
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