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00000177-ba84-d5f4-a5ff-bbfc9b930000A 3-part original reporting series.With the end of its 40-year license arriving in 2012, the owners of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth have applied for a 20-year extension. But opponents of the plant, including some local and state politicians, question the reactor's safety, especially after three sister reactors in Japan experienced explosions and likely meltdowns in the past year. Sean Corcoran reports.

Protestors Continue Calls for Pilgrim Reactor to Shutdown

Chloe Shelford

About 30 protesters gathered in the bitter cold outside the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station Monday, January 9. With hand-made signs and shouted slogans, they welcomed a team of special investigators from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC workers are on hand for their third and final week of intensive inspections at the troubled plant.

Collectively, the protestors call themselves the Cape Downwinders. In early December, a damning internal memo from a chief NRC inspector mistakenly was sent to one of the group’s members. This leak prompted state leaders, including Governor Charlie Baker, to pen a letter demanding an open meeting to discuss safety concerns. 

Yesterday, former Senator Dan Wolf told protesters that officials from all levels of government have failed the public. 

“This is not a question of whether this power plant will fail," Wolf said. "The power station is in failure today.  It was in failure when it was re-licensed.  The federal government didn’t do its job.  The previous administration didn’t do its job, and this administration up until now didn’t do its job either.”

The plant owner, Entergy Corporation, has said the plant is safe and well regulated by the NRC. The plan is to close it down in 2019 for economic reasons. 

But Cape Downwinder Judith Cumbler criticized the plant, saying “I think we’ve all been sacrificed by Entergy. This is not a safe plant.”

Protestors said not only is Pilgrim unsafe, it’s also vulnerable to cyber attack. And, in the event of a disaster, there is no evacuation plan for Cape residents, who would be told to shelter in place.