Once again, warm Cape Cod Bay waters have forced a slowdown at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth. In its 44-year history, the plant has now had three heat-related slowdowns – all in the last four years:
Mary Lampert, director of the citizens group Pilgrim Watch, sees irony in the effect climate change is having on nuclear reactors.
“The nuclear industry incorrectly claims that nuclear power is the answer to climate change, but climate change brings warmer sea water temperature and this means that the reactor must shut down when the bay heats up,” Lampert wrote in an email. “On the other hand, when water temperatures get hot, truly clean sources of electricity — wind, solar, hydro, tide — operate just fine.”
Nuclear advocates like to claim it’s a reliable energy source, but what good is it if Pilgrim can’t take the heat during peak summer demand?
I’m not against nuclear power on principle. But between its struggle to survive in a warming world and nuclear’s exorbitant cost, we should focus our investments in building solar and wind far, far further out than the relatively tiny amounts they currently provide before we give nuclear the billions in subsidies it demands.