In what has become an annual event, a group of protesters gathered at the Sagamore Bridge to protest against the nuclear power plant in Plymouth.
The main point of the protest was to choose a day with massive traffic- Labor Day- and use the jam to show people just how hard it would be to escape from Cape Cod in the event of an emergency at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant.
We were there during the height of the traffic, with two cars at a time were trying to force their way onto the bridge from the Christmas Tree Shop. As bad as that was, it would be worse if everyone was trying to get off of Cape Cod, instead of just the tourists... and everyone was in a radioactive panic.
As you can see above, we'd be hurtin' for certain if there was an accident at the Pilgrim Plant. There's the inner Death Zone, where you'd pretty much spit leukemia immediately after an accident, and the slow, drawn-out painful Death Zone, where you cook from the inside out like a Hot Pocket.
The good news is that your pet marine iguana will mutate to 40 stories tall and really hate the Japanese for some reason that makes for great movies. If you live, get him an agent.
The bad news is that you probably won't live, and that agent had better live east of Sandwich.
The ugly and little-spoken-of rumor regarding an emergency at the Pilgrim nuclear plant is that Cape Codders will be advised to shelter in place. This advice will be encouraged by the Man closing one or maybe both bridges over the Cape Cod Canal.
This is a bad idea and a good idea. Bad idea = trapping people on the Cape during a period where radioactivity is drifting over the Bay. Good idea = closing Sagamore prevents people from driving pretty much right into Ground Zero.
Either way, it doesn't look like you'll be getting off-Cape if you choose that option, unless you have a boat all fueled up. Otherwise, you'll get turned around at Route 130, unless you want to see if they'll kill you for running a roadblock.
Cape Downwinders are a group of people who feel that the nuclear plant is a disaster movie waiting to happen.
Here's some stuff they're not liking:
- Pilgrim's reactor is among the nation's 9 worst performers based partly on the number of unplanned shutdowns, more than any U.S. reactor in 2013.
- Potassium Iodide will protect you thyroid and nothing else. Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking thyroid gland.
- That whole shelter-in-place thing.
- Nuclear power in general, at least the people I spoke with.
- The fact that the plant is open despite town-to-town hatred of it.
- The NRC is in the lap of the energy producers.
- Perhaps only Big Tobacco works harder to convince you that your cancer is someone else's fault
They also aren't loving:
- MEMA doesn't have a plan available for a Cape Cod evacuation in the event of a nuclear emergency.
- How much more difficult an emergency evacuation would be when compared to the usual Labor Day-style traffic jam.
- Our local pols talk a good game, but stop short of actually fighting Pilgrim.
- There is a feeling that the Powers That Be would sacrifice Cape Cod in order to clear out Plymouth County more quickly.
- The tsimilarities to the Fukushima plant of tsunami fame.
The people driving by were sympathetic. I was out there a half an hour, and didn't see anyone giving them any lip... even at the very tail end of a long, slow drive up to the Sagamore.
There were a lot of cars honking and throwing thumbs-up at the sign-wavers. The traffic jam was doing most of the arguing for the Downwinders, with the sign people merely providing a simple If-Then scenario for them to chew over as they crawled up to one of the two ways off the Cape.
Bottom line: Pilgrim is a dangerous entity, and- if they even have a plan for Cape to evacuate other than "block the bridges" and so forth- the danger is aimed right at Cape Cod.
... and it looks so innocent from the ocean, too.
Note: The staff at BTW is making a Sagamore-to-Buzzards Bay move, so coverage has and may continue to be spotty until we have all of our ducks in a row,