Voters Ask for Larger Emergency Zone Around Pilgrim

power plantBARNSTABLE – Voters in the Cape and Islands senate district voted strongly in favor of a non-binding question to expand the radiological Plume Exposure Emergency Planning Zone around the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.

The zone is currently a 10-mile radius area. The ballot question advocates want to extend it to include Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties, which would cover Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

The Cape and Islands state senate district extends from Mashpee to Provincetown and is represented by Cape and Islands State Senator Dan Wolf, who is strongly in favor of the question and of closing Pilgrim.

Voters in those towns approved the question by a vote of 43,313 in favor and 15,212 opposed.

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The question was placed on the ballot by the group Cape Downwinders. The group believes that Cape Codders will be in jeopardy in the event of a nuclear accident because current plans call for Cape Codders to shelter in place while residents closer to the plant in Plymouth will be allowed to evacuate.

In the interview below, Diane Turco of Harwich, a founder of the group, explains the reasoning behind the question.

Donna Calabrese, Emergency Planning Manager for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, explained what the power plant’s systems are in case of emergencies.

She said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission controls the size of Plume Exposure Emergency Planning Zones and the zones are the same size–a 10-mile radius–at nuclear power plants all across the country. She said she believes that 10 miles is a sufficient size for the zone.

An interview with her appears below.