The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is a generating station located in Plymouth, MA, 38 miles south of Boston on the coast of the Atlantic in Cape Cod Bay. It is one of two plants in Massachusetts (the other being Seabrook, north of Boston). Pilgrim Station, operated by Holtec International, is in the process of decommissioning following operation and electrical generation from 1972 until May 2019. Decommissioning is the process to end energy production and safely retire the station and any hazardous materials on site. Owners are accountable to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The single reactor unit with a boiling-water reactor and steam turbine generator uses Cape Cod Bay water for cooling, and this continues through decommissioning as spent nuclear fuel is stored in water pools to cool. Over the life of the station this water has been released back into the ocean slowly over time.
Decommissioning in progress. More information coming soon!
- May 26, 2023 Commentary Ken Buesseler: The scale of the problem- comments on a MA Dept. of Public Health report on radioactivity in untreated waters at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station
- The commentary above is in reference to this document May 19, 2023: Untreated Radioactive Wastewater Analysis Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Radiation Control Program
- Irina Rypina recently received a Sea Grant to study the water currents and potential contaminant path from the Power Plant if water is released. Please see more information in the press release: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Sea Grant to Map Potential Path of Proposed Wastewater Release from Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station
- EPA to Holtec Letter June 2022
- Letter to Holtec from Senators Markey & Warren with Congressman Keating (of Massachusetts)
- 'Great concern': WHOI scientist says radiation levels are high in Pilgrim nuclear plant water; CAI (NPR). June 2, 2023
- WHOI Scientist weighs in on risk of radioactive wastewater; The Enterprise, Gilda Geist. Dec. 30, 2022
- No decision on release of wastewater into Cape Cod Bay; The Provincetown Independent, Dec. 28, 2022
- Timeline: The 52-year history of the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant; WBUR NPR, May 29, 2019
- Pilgrim’s Progress: Inside the American Nuclear-Waste Crisis; The New Yorker, Gregg Levine & Caroline Preston. Nov. 25, 2016
- MORE LINKS TO COME!
Radio Interviews & Reports
- Troubled Waters - The Upper Cape Catch interview with Ken Buesseler about water stored at Pilgrim Station Dec. 2022
- Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant gears up to move its radioactive waste - Science Friday (NPR Radio), Sept. 24, 2021
- Pilgrim is closing. So then what happens to the radioactive waste? WBUR Radio, May 30, 2019
- Rypina et al. (2022) Spreading pathways of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station wastewater in and around Cape Cod Bay: Estimates from ocean drifter observations. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 225(107039). Online version
- Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel - advises the MA Governor and educates citizens across the state on activities related to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station shut down