Bill Maurer of Falmouth, a member of the Downwinders, is one of the organizers of the Labor Day protest.
The group’s concern, according to Maurer, is that “if there were an accident at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant that the Sagamore Bridge would be closed and the other message is if you think the traffic is bad today, if that occurs and traffic is routed to the Bourne Bridge, it’s just going to be horrible.”
Maurer said the group has been asking plant officials for an evacuation plan.
“There’s no plan. There’s no evacuation plan or no plan of how to handle what they call the ‘shadow evacuation’ from Cape Cod. The only plan is to close the Sagamore Bridge and after that there is no plan,” he said.
The group plans to take advantage of heavy traffic leaving the Cape at the Sagamore Bridge to solicit support for closing the plant.
The group has been gathering at the bridge for the past three years on Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to Maurer.
“We get a lot of toots, a lot of thumbs up,” he said.
“We also get some people who disagree with our concerns but mostly I’d say the majority of people are supportive,” he said.
Maurer said the demonstration will begin at about 11 a.m. Monday morning and last until 1 p.m.
The Downwinders have been working with the Barnstable Regional Emergency Planning Committee and they’ve done some great work towards informing Cape Codders of what the situation might look like if there ever were an accident.
The Pilgrim plant has been in place for 40 years but Maurer said the issue of how to evacuate Cape Cod should there be a nuclear accident has not been addressed.
“They’ve been doing emergency planning for nuclear power plants since Three Mile Island in 1979. But Cape Cod has been left out of the need-to-know loop if there were an accident at Pilgrim Power Plant,” Maurer said.
Maurer said the plan to close the Sagamore Bridge should there be an emergency is insufficient.
“We feel that by closing the Sagamore Bridge, we’re basically trapped on Cape Cod. It’s a gamble about how rapidly a radiation release happens if there is an accident and which way the wind’s blowing.
“Conceivably there could be hundreds of thousands of people trapped on Cape Cod roadways with the Sagamore Bridge closed and the wind could be blowing in their direction and there’s no protection if you’re sitting in a car and we think that’s unacceptable.”