Jones River Watershed Association (JRWA) and Pilgrim Watch (PW) today renewed their request for government agencies to address issues relating to Entergy-Louisiana’s destruction and pollution of Cape Cod Bay from its operations at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth. Pilgrim takes in and heats 510 million gallons a day of sea water to make steam for its electric turbines and cool the reactor. This process kills plankton, fish and other sea life.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pilgrim’s operations have created a four-square mile thermal plume of pollution in Cape Cod Bay. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Entergy data shows that in the past 40 years, Pilgrim has used an amount of water equivalent to the entire volume of Cape Cod Bay for its cooling water system. On June 15, 2012, the two groups delivered a letter to the state office of Energy and Envrionmental Affairs asking the office to revoke its 2006 approval for Energy’s relicensing under the Coastal Zone Management Act, http://www.capecodbaywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/06.15.12-JRWA-to-CZM-reconsider-final-1-1.pdf.
“It is clear that the state has authority to stop the destruction of Cape Cod Bay from Entergy’s pollution. The state Supreme Judicial Court in 2011 ruled that the harmful environmental impact of cooling water intake systems like Entergy’s is “staggering.” Yet, the state agencies are standing by and letting this destruction continue,” said Pine duBois, executive director of JRWA.
On June 18, 2012, the NRC’s Atomic Safety Licensing Board issued an order saying that the NRC staff apparently violated its own rules under the Endangered Species Act for the Roseate Tern. The three judge panel said, “There is no evidence that the FEIS (final environmental impact statement) was ever submitted” to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (US FWS) as required by the ESA regulations. The judges said that the information presented by JRWA and PW presents “extensive additional information and considerations” that may warrant future attention by the NRC staff.”
JRWA and PW on June 28, 2012 sent a letter to US FWS asking for a reevaluation of the impacts of Pilgrim relicensing on the endangered tern and its main food supply, the sand lance, which is regularly killed by Pilgrim’s cooling water system, http://www.capecodbaywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ESA-Tern-Reinitiate-1.pdf.
On June 28, 2012, the groups also asked the National Marine Fisheries Service to reinitiate Endangered Species Act consultation for whales, sea turtles, and sturgeon, claiming that the agency’s May 17, 2012 decision that the relicensing is “not likely to adversely affect” the endangered species or their habitat was arbitary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or not otherwise in accordance with law, http://www.capecodbaywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/06.28.12-Final-NMFS-Req-Reinitiate-1.pdf.
“There are many concerns about the future impacts of Pilgrim’s relicensing that still have not been answered, and the NRC should not have issued a new operating license until these were resolved,” said Lampert. “We will continue to press the state and federal agencies to do their jobs or protecting the public health, safety and the environment.”