Public Vigil Remembers Fukushima, Reflects on Possibility of Local Meltdown

Cape Downwinders co-founder Diane Turco holds up a card with the letter “F” to represent the grade the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant have given to the Plymouth facility

HYANNIS – Words sent directly from Japan echoed during Saturday’s public vigil on the Hyannis Village Green to remember the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

It was a letter read by Diane Turco of the Cape Downwinders, written by a relocated former Fukushima resident who expressed gratitude for American support.

Six years ago, three of the Fukushima nuclear power plant’s reactors melted on March 11 after the cooling system failed during an earthquake.

The local group of activists said that a similar event could occur locally at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth – a facility which uses the same GE Mark 1 boiling water used at Fukushima.

“It’s the same danger, the same design, and it’s a real threat today to the Commonwealth,” Turco said. “Our government is failing us that it allows Pilgrim to operate at our peril.”

The plant is set to close down in 2019, but Turco said it should have already closed due to its standing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as one of the top three worst performing reactors in the nation.

She said it should have been closed because of safety reasons, not financial ones. The plant could still be purchased by another operating company, even after it closes.

The Cape Downwinders maintain that there is “no escape from the Cape” should a disaster occur, since the state emergency plan does not include an evacuation plan for Cape Codders.

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