Nuclear power is a high-risk resource. As existing plants age, they present increased safety hazards, on top of their inherent safety issues. In the case of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (Pilgrim), safety concerns are further magnified by factors such as:
Pilgrim’s design, which is nearly identical to the failed Fukushima nuclear power plants.
History of Pilgrim operating safety and reliability issues, including its switchyard failures.
Questionable safety waivers recently granted to Pilgrim by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Non-viable evacuation plans for thousands of Massachusetts residents.
Additional risks due to climate change effects on coastal installations, specifically those associated with sea level rise, flooding, storm surge, and nor’easters.
Pilgrim provides less than 3% of our electricity generation needs. That capacity can be easily and quickly replaced with clean renewable power. For all of these reasons, I support an immediate shutdown of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.
In addition to the safety concerns about the plant, there are safety concerns about onsite storage of nuclear waste. The failure of national policy in this area has left local authorities facing a problem that we were never supposed to encounter. The Pilgrim site and other nuclear plant sites across the country were not intended to be repositories for a decades-long buildup of nuclear waste.
While the NRC has control over these storage methods and practices, as the chief safety officer, the governor has the right and responsibility to challenge these practices.
I share the views of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who recently negotiated an accelerated shutdown of the Indian Point Nuclear Plant in 2021, due to safety concerns and the proximity to high population areas. Concerns about the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station are at least as compelling as those driving the shutdown plans at the Indian Point Energy Center (both plants are owned and maintained by Entergy).
I support an accelerated phase-out of nuclear power.
AS GOVERNOR I WILL:
- Close the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station on an accelerated schedule, preferably on the day I take office
Implement job retraining for any Pilgrim plant workers not retained by Entergy
Address state safety concerns over the volume of nuclear waste and the manner in which it is stored
Phase-out other nuclear power generation capacity currently purchased by ISO-New England for Massachusetts customers.
Engineer a smooth and fast transition to clean renewable energy, reaching 100% renewables by or before 2050 and replacing both fossil fuels AND nuclear power.
- After 2050, build a strong renewables economy, and export excess power to neighboring states