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Emergency declared at U.S. nuclear plant as ‘Blizzicane’ hits Boston area — Reactor shuts down — Hurricane force windgust at airport

Published: February 9th, 2013 at 2:00 am ET
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AP, 1:04a ET:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says a power plant in Massachusetts has lost power and shut down during a massive snowstorm.

The NRC says the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth experienced an automatic shutdown at around 9:15 p.m. Friday after losing off-site power. Spokesman Neil Sheehan says the plant has declared an unusual event, which is the lowest level of emergency classification. [...]

Title: Media Release: Pilgrim Poses Risk During Upcoming Winter Storm
Source: Cape Cod Bay Watch
Date: Feb. 7, 2013

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station on Cape Cod Bay is directly in the path of the historic winter storm due to hit Plymouth, Mass. starting Friday. According to information from the National Weather Service, there could be widespread prolonged power outages, coastal flooding and erosion, and hurricane force winds.

Local groups have asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to order Entergy Corporation, Pilgrim’s operator, to take the reactor offline during the storm to prevent an unacceptable risk to the public and the environment. This storm differs from Hurricane Sandy because it is hitting Plymouth during high tide, not low tide, and will be accompanied by heavy snow and ice.

The groups say that a prolonged power outage, flooding, high winds, and snow and ice could cause several serious problems at Pilgrim. First, the pumps that circulate water through the pools of high-level nuclear waste could fail. If this happens, the water in the spent fuel pool would eventually evaporate, exposing the spent fuel. Second, Pilgrim’s cooling water intake pumps, which take in over 500 million gallons of water per day from Cape Cod Bay to cool the reactor, could flood or fail. Under either scenario, there could be an explosion that would release radioactive material throughout the region. [...]

More on Pilgrim: GE Hitachi: 35 U.S. reactors could fail during quake -- Problem with control rods

Published: February 9th, 2013 at 2:00 am ET
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