In early November, the Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Dr. Allison Macfarlane, visited the Pilgrim Nuclear Station in Plymouth. Following up on that visit, Earthrise Law Center asked her to fix a serious deficiency in Entergy's NRC license for the Pilgrim Nuclear Station.
In a letter dated November 11, Earthrise emphasized a missing condition in Entergy's May 2012 NRC license – a condition intended to help protect marine life, such as whales, sea turtles and sturgeon that are protected under the Endangered Species Act. In October 2012, NRC told the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that the license requires Entergy to report occurrences, sightings, or interactions of certain endangered and threatened marine species near the Pilgrim plant. Earthrise says this is wrong, and the requirement is not included in Entergy's license.
At Earthrise's request, NMFS asked NRC to fix the mistake last April, but the NRC has still not acted.
The reporting condition is important because Cape Cod Bay is home to numerous federally endangered and threatened species. Of particular concern is the North Atlantic right whale, one of the rarest large whales in the world with a little more than 500 individuals remaining. Most of the Bay is critical habitat for right whales. In January 2013, there was an unusual sighting of a mother-calf right whale pair within Pilgrim's 500-yard safety exclusion zone.
Entergy uses an outdated, once-through cooling water system that causes ongoing pollution and destruction of marine life in Cape Cod Bay, so knowing if imperiled species are nearby is critical.
Fixing the missing condition in Entergy’s NRC license is one way to help protect vulnerable species in the Bay.
Cape Cod Bay Watch is leading a public interest campaign to protect and restore the scenic, recreational, ecological and economic values of Cape Cod Bay.