Cape Downwinders Express Concerns of Pilgrim Remaining Open Past 2019


HARWICH – The Cape Downwinders are expressing concerns to top state officials and legislators about the potential for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to remain open past its expected closure next spring.

The anti-nuclear activists have sent a letter calling on Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Congressman William Keating, Governor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey to take immediate action to close the plant.

The letter is in response to a Department of Energy memo that suggests the Trump Administration may push for two national laws to keep aging nuclear and coal plants open.

“This DOE draft memo presents a clear and present danger to the people of Massachusetts,” the letter read. “It calls for a massive bailout of the nuclear and coal industries. It also specifically singles out Pilgrim as a reactor retiring too soon.”

The DOE memo indicates that nuclear reactions, like the one on Plymouth, receive taxpayer funds to mitigate “cyber security and physical security challenges” to the energy grid.

The memo argues that “immediate action is needed to stop units from being deactivated,” and cites the Federal Power Act 202(c) which authorizes the government to act on “anticipated” conditions.

The Downwinders say, given a presidential directive, the proposal could keep Pilgrim open beyond the anticipated 2019 closure.

Pilgrim has and operating license that is open to 2032 issued by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Pilgrim is one the three worst performing plants in the country and is under Column 4 of the NRC’s action matrix, which is the highest level of oversight. The plant was placed under Column 4 in 2015 for several safety violations and unplanned shutdowns.

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