Could Mass. See Nuclear Meltdown Like Japan’s?

By Bill Shields, WBZ-TV

PLYMOUTH (CBS) — “What is happening at the Japanese nuclear site is cataclysmic,” says M.I.T. Professor Ian Hutchinson. Three of the six reactors at Fukushima are in danger of a meltdown.  All three were built about the same time as the Pilgrim nuclear station in Plymouth and have very similar designs.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports from Plymouth

Pilgrim Station officials have little to fear from a tsunami.  Nonetheless, they have backup systems if there is a disruption of power. “We have a direct feed from NSTAR,” says Dave Tarantino of Entergy, Pilgrim’s owner, “and three diesel units to generate more power if needed; even a massive amount of battery power as a last resort.” 

The lifeblood of most nuclear power plants is cooling water, which Pilgrim gets from the ocean, just like the reactors at Fukushima. “Our unit is like a giant radiator,” says Tarantino, “and we use 300,000 gallons of water per minute to cool the system.”

But could a Chernobyl-style meltdown happen in Japan, or Plymouth? Dr. Hutchinson doesn’t believe so. “At Fukushima, the containment building is such that if there is a meltdown, the structure should hold it.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports.

Hutchinson added that what is happening in Japan more closely resembles what happened at 3-Mile Island in 1979, where there was not a massive amount of radioactive material released into the environment.

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