Anti-Pilgrim Activists Rallying at State House After Unplanned Shutdown


BOSTON – A group of anti-nuclear activists will rally today at the State House after the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station experienced another unplanned shutdown last week.

The Cape Downwinders and 3 other organizations are calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to demand the station be closed immediately.

Plant operators manually shut the reactor down during Thursday’s winter storm after one of the two lines that provides power to the facility became unavailable.

It is not the first unplanned shutdown Pilgrim has had during winter storms in recent years. Similar incidents occurred in 2013 and 2015, leading the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to downgrade the plant’s safety rating.

The station is now under the highest level of federal oversight and is one step away from a federally-mandated shutdown.

Only two other plants in the country are in similar poor standing with federal regulators.

“More and more, Pilgrim makes The Simpsons seem like a documentary on nuclear power plants,” said Ed DeWitt, the retired Executive Director of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod.

Pilgrim is scheduled to close in 2019.

“To be pacified with the promise of Pilgrim’s closure in 2019 is clearly wishful thinking,” said Chatham resident Mary Conathan “The risks we are asked to accept are anything but acceptable. Poor maintenance, systemic mismanagement, cyber security violations all indicate to me we must pull our heads out of the sand and demand the plant be closed now.”

In a statement on the unplanned shutdown, Pilgrim spokesman Patrick O’Brien said plant officials followed protocol by shutting down the reactor. 

“Pilgrim Station was manually removed from service, in accordance with station procedure, at 2:09 pm on January 4, 2018 due to the loss of one of the two off-site lines that allow Pilgrim to feed power to the grid. We are working to determine the cause of the line loss,” O’Brien said.

“Pilgrim had been safely operating for 227 consecutive days following the completion of our most recent refueling outage in May 2017. We will take this opportunity to conduct preventive maintenance that we could not otherwise perform with the plant operating at full power,” O’Brien added.

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