PLYMOUTH — The ongoing heat wave could force Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to shut down, as soaring temperatures continue to warm the Cape Cod Bay waters that the plant relies on to cool key safety systems.
Pilgrim’s license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires the water being drawn from the bay to be no warmer than 75 degrees. On Tuesday night, the temperature in the saltwater system reached 75.3 degrees and remained above the 75-degree limit for about 90 minutes.
If water temperatures rise and show no sign of lowering, the plant has 24 hours to completely shut down.
Although the seawater is warmer when it is discharged back into the bay, it must not be so warm it affects the ecosystem.
The owners of Millstone Unit 2 and Unit 3 have since submitted a request to amend plant licenses to permit water temperature up to 80 degrees, Sheehan said.