Pilgrim's Shutdown Ends Nuclear Power Era In Massachusetts

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant (Credit: Pilgrim Power/Facebook)

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) - It will take about five hours for the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth to permanently shut down after 47 years of generating electricity.

Entergy announced in 2015 it would retire Massachusetts' only remaining nuclear reactor, citing competition from less expensive energy sources. The shutdown is scheduled for Friday.

Technicians will begin by reducing Pilgrim's power output from the current 40% to 26% to about 8%.

At that point workers will press two buttons at once, launching the final step of inserting control rods into the fuel assembly to seal off further nuclear reactions.

Preparations will then begin for cleaning up and dismantling the plant. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reviewing Entergy's proposal to sell Pilgrim to a private nuclear waste management firm that promises a speedier decommissioning.

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