What: Contact the NRC Commissioners and ask your elected officials to do likewise.

Why: The Commission soon will decide whether to require filters in reactors designed like Pilgrim on the vent from the primary containment where the largest amount of radioactivity will be released in a severe accident. Filters are available, tested, and in place at reactors around the world. The NRC Technical Staff says “Yes.” Industry says “No.” What do you say?

Action: Email your request to the Commissions Executive Secretary at NRCExecSec@nrc.gov -either create your own message or simply say that you wish to sign on to the attached, Pilgrim Watch Comment Regarding Additional Requirements For Containment Venting Systems For BWRs With Mark I And Mark II Containments In Support Of Filters And Rupture Discs ( November 19, 2012).

Discussion: To Filter or Not to Filter Pilgrim’s Vent That Is the Question with Only One Sane Answer

The NRC Commissioners will decide in December whether to require filters on vents in reactors designed like Pilgrim. The NRC Technical Staff support adding filters; the industry is lobbying NRC against filters -simply to save money. The Commission needs to hear from you and elected officials, now.

Reactors like Pilgrim have a vent to relieve excess pressure in order to save the containment in a severe accident. However the vent is not filtered so that when the radioactivity level to be released is as high as it gets, the least amount of protection is provided. Whereas under normal operating conditions, releases are processed through high energy particulate filters (HEPA) and charcoal filters that significantly reduce radioactivity discharged offsite; and during design-based accidents, gaseous releases are processed through another system with HEPA and charcoal filters designed to remove 99% of the radioactive particles. But in a severe accident, we will get “blasted” right into our neighborhoods.

This makes no sense. Filters are available, tested and in use around the world today. Sweden has had filters on its vents since 1985 required to retain 99.9% of the radioisotopes. Also, for example, vents are filtered in France, Germany, Switzerland and Romania. Japan will add filters having learned the hard way what happens when vents are released without them.The NRC is required to protect public health and safety. Tell them to do their job.

Pilgrim Watch and Cape Cod Bay Watch are both members of the Pilgrim Coalition, a network of citizens who are working to dedicated to raising awareness of – and reducing – significant risks to public safety, health and our environment arising from the continued operation of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, located in Plymouth, Massachusetts.