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Dangers in Pilgrim nuclear waste shutdown – dry waste casks becoming stranded for decades?

The Future Of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station: Radioactive Waste And Many Questions By Sarah Mizes-Tan WGBH, 

Built in 1972 on the shores of Cape Cod Bay, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station has been the subject of controversy and concern for decades. Now it’s scheduled to close in the next few months. This is part three of a three-part series on the plant as it heads towards permanent shutdown in mid-2019. Read parts one andtwo.

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is nearly 50 years old. It’s moving toward a permanent shutdown in four months, but there are still concerns about safety. When a nuclear power plant closes, it leaves radioactive waste, and a lot of unanswered questions……..

As the plant ages, nuclear opponents are increasingly worried that an accident similar to the one in this drill could lead to a nuclear meltdown. Harwich resident Diane Turco, a longtime critic of the plant, is concerned that the consequences of a nuclear explosion would have far-reaching effects. She has overlaid an image of the radioactive plume generated after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi plant explosion on a map of New England.

“We superimposed that data over Pilgrim, and you can see where it goes,” she said.

The plume she points to would stretch from Long Island to Maine. And though the plant is closing soon, the risk for a nuclear meltdown still remains, even after it’s stopped generating power. One morning, Turco visited the plant to point out what she’s really worried about: the dry cask storage units, a cluster of concrete cylinders sitting next to the plant.

“We should not be able to be here. If somebody had bad intent, there’s the dry casks right there,” she said.

She’s worried that the casks, which contain radioactive material from the reactor, are too easily accessible and unprotected. An attack on the casks could result in a nuclear explosion.

“You could jump over here and be over there in two minutes,” she said. She pointed out a lack of security surveillance of the road passing by the storage casks.

To add to existing concerns, Entergy is now looking to sell the power plant to Holtec, a company that specializes in nuclear decommissioning — basically, shutting nuclear power plants down. It’s the same company that manufactured the dry cask storage cylinders that Turco pointed out. The company claims that it can decommission Pilgrim Nuclear in less time and for less money than Entergy is able to……

February 16, 2019 - Posted by | USA, wastes

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