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Official: Cape lacks nuke evacuation plan via Official

HARWICH — State officials have heard plenty from Cape Cod residents who are worried about what would happen here if there were an accident at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth.

On Wednesday the head of the state’s emergency management agency echoed their concerns.

“We have to have a plan,” Kurt Schwartz, director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, told 70 residents, politicians and emergency planners at a two-hour meeting of the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee at the Harwich Community Center. “It’s not good enough what you have right now, which is nothing.”

Currently Cape Cod has an emergency traffic plan that is activated for major storms and other events but nothing specific for an incident at the Plymouth plant. The recent relicensing of Pilgrim has sparked requests from Cape residents for state and local officials to address the issue. A series of meetings, telephone calls and email exchanges culminated in Schwartz’s visit Wednesday.

Communities within a 10-mile radius of Pilgrim are covered by emergency drills, and a study has determined how long it would take for residents of that area to evacuate during an emergency. Five miles out from that is a so-called “shadow region.” The emergency plan’s evacuation time estimates also account for residents in that zone who might decide to leave.

There is no plan for areas beyond that, including most of Cape Cod, although critics of Pilgrim have pointed out references in state documents to diverting traffic away from the Sagamore Bridge in case of congestion on the other side of the Cape Cod Canal.

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