A Snowstorm and a Pilgrim

Anti-nuclear websites are absolutely abuzz with the “news” that Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station is shut down. Pilgrim experienced two unplanned shutdowns in January due to an electrical relay trip and then a leaking safety valve. The plant was operating around 80 percent of full power when the snow storm that hit the north eastern United States this week caused a power outage that forced the plant to shutdown.

The reason for the shutdown is very simple. High winds = downed trees = downed power lines. Or maybe your neighbor hit the pole up the street. (Thanks a lot Ally!) If the electrical distribution grid is damaged such that it cannot carry electricity to customers, there is no use continuing to churn out electricity to it. Therefore, the plant shut down. This operation is by design, and is not initiated due to any malfunction with the plant itself. It’s akin to turning off the water supply to a tub when the tub has sprung a leak. There’s nothing wrong with the water supply.

However, some websites’ treatment of this outage is less incendiary than others.

CBS Local

CBS Local gets it right.

Boston.com

Boston.com is not too bad.

AP

AP gives the impression a nuclear plant cannot withstand a snow storm.

But I don’t think anyone tops the whoppers on Energy News – a highly disreputable site to begin with – under this headline:

Energy "News"

Energy “News”

From the comments under this highly misleading headline, you would think the plant is in imminent danger of wiping out the eastern seaboard and sending a fiery exploding nuclear mess dropping straight to China.

Let me be clear. There is nothing wrong with Pilgrim’s boiling water reactor. The emergency diesel generators are running and keeping the plant cool. When the grid is back in working condition, the plant will restart and life will go on. And anti-nuclear activists will continue to spread lies about it all.

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2 responses to “A Snowstorm and a Pilgrim

  1. Reblogged this on amandatheatheist and commented:
    Because I have very little time to blog, I’ll share Nuclear Grrl’s post about nuclear plants and mis-reporting/misinformation. I can at least spread reason, even if I don’t have time to write it.

  2. James Greenidge

    Re: “Let me be clear. There is nothing wrong with Pilgrim’s boiling water reactor. The emergency diesel generators are running and keeping the plant cool. When the grid is back in working condition, the plant will restart and life will go on. And anti-nuclear activists will continue to spread lies about it all.”

    Only thing is that anti-nukes are running amok on an open field devoid of predators — and challengers. I can’t begrudge the anti-nukes; birds fly because birds do, but when the nuclear community — “industry”, professional organizations and unions — just sit back with zero ads or PSAs and educational announcements and concede public opinion and perspective of nuclear power to the poison of the opposition who else is there to blame? I’ve seen more puppy rescue PSAs on NYC cable in one week than ten years of any nuclear PSA or ad — and this is a location where Indian Point is under siege. You just don’t hear much in terms of cranking out nuclear ads or promotional campaigns out of plush nuclear professional org conferences, forget the actual utility-owned plants themselves. If they hadn’t already during/after the storm, Pilgrims’ management (even the general nuclear energy community) should’ve been burning up the airwaves and newspapers explaining to a largely science illiterate public what went down and the true story instead of having the antis speak teetering Doomsday for them. In back of all this you have an administration that wouldn’t mind seeing nuclear extinct like coal. How much of a bellwether to action do you need? You get the positive feedback — and public perspective — that you sow.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY