In the Event of an Emergency at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

In the Event of an Emergency at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Emergency Services

In the event of an emergency, the following services, if needed, would be provided through the Radiological Emergency Response Plan:

  • Environmental monitoring and accident assessment
  • Protective action decision making
  • Interstate coordination of information and response activities
  • Public alerting and information
  • Traffic and access control
  • Transportation for persons without a ride during an evacuation
  • Assistance for persons with special needs
  • Precautionary actions for children in schools, licensed day care and summer camps
  • Warning to persons in state forests and wilderness areas
  • Radiological monitoring of crops, dairy products, meat and poultry, fish farms, fish and game, and water supplies
  • Guidance for gardeners, farmers and food processors
  • Possible evacuation of some locations
  • Possible relocation of population from some locations
  • Radiological monitoring of evacuees and their vehicles
  • Decontamination
  • Crisis counseling and assistance with family reunification
  • Accommodations and meals for evacuees
  • Continuity of government
  • Assistance for business restoration
  • Public and private assistance through American Nuclear Insurers
  • Continuity of essential services such as schools, medical care, banking, employment assistance, utilities and housing
The Four Emergency Levels

If an emergency is declared at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, it would be categorized into one of four emergency levels:

  1. Unusual Event:
    This means a minor problem has occurred at the plant. It may involve situations such as hazardous weather or a minor equipment problem. Public officials would be notified, but there would be no need to sound the warning signals. People in the area would not need to take any special actions.
  2. Alert:
    This could affect plant safety, but it is not expected to require any special actions by residents. Public officials would be notified. They would monitor the situation and be ready to act if it got worse. As a precaution, public officials may mobilize transportation resources. They may transfer school children to host schools outside the area and clear state forests and waterways. Emergency Alert System radio or news broadcasts would inform the public of these actions.
  3. Site Area Emergency:
    This means a more serious problem affecting the plant and plant boundaries has occurred. Any release of radioactive materials would be below federal limits. State and local officials would keep people in the area fully informed about any necessary actions through Emergency Alert System radio stations. As a precaution, State officials would move school children to host schools outside the area if this had not already been done. Other precautions would be called for by state officials, as needed.
  4. General Emergency:
    This is the most serious type of emergency. It could involve serious damage at the plant and a release of radioactive materials. State officials might direct persons in some areas to shelter-in-place or to evacuate to a safer location. Special instructions and other important information would be issued over the Emergency Alert System radio stations.
How You Will Be Notified Of An Emergency

If there is an emergency requiring public notification, you will be alerted by one or more of the following warning signals:

  • The loud, steady tone of the outdoor emergency sirens, lasting 3 to 5 minutes

  • A voice message over beach loudspeakers

  • Broadcasts from loudspeakers on police and other official vehicles

  • Announcements from town harbormasters or an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast from the U.S. Coast Guard

  • Tone-alert Emergency Alert System radios

  • A message on Teletypewriters (TTYs) if you have registered with a town Emergency Management Office to be notified over TTY in case of an emergency

  • Word-of-mouth

If you hear any of these signals, turn to one of the Emergency Alert System radio stations immediately. Check with your neighbors, especially the elderly or those who have difficulty hearing or seeing to make sure they have received the warning and know what to do.

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

If you are alerted by the warning signal, you should tune to your local Emergency Alert System (EAS) station for emergency instructions. EAS is the direct link between you and the people responsible for your safety. Instructions may be given to you at any hour, day or night, and will include recommendations as to what you should do for your protection. Follow instructions carefully. Do not worry if you miss the beginning of an emergency broadcast. Information will be provided regularly.

Local EAS Stations

  • WBMX Boston 98.5 FM

  • WATD Marshfield 95.9 FM

  • WPLM Plymouth 99.1 FM

  • WPLM Plymouth 1390 AM

In case of an emergency, always stay tuned to an Emergency Alert System station for your area.

Should I stay or should I go?

It is only in the most serious case that some portion of residents within the 10-mile emergency planning zone (EPZ) will be instructed to take action. In such a situation, you will either be told to shelter-in-place or evacuate.

If you are in a sub-area that is instructed to shelter-in-place, you should immediately go inside the nearest available building. If you are already inside, stay there. Sheltering-in-place may provide the best protection. If a shelter-in-place message is given for your sub-area over the Emergency Alert System radio station, you should do the following:

  • Go indoors and close all doors and windows.

  • DO NOT use your telephone unless you need special assistance.

  • Turn off all window fans, clothes dryers, kitchen and bath exhaust fans, air conditioners and other sources of outside air.

  • Continue to listen to your EAS station for official messages and instructions.

  • Keep pets indoors.

  • If you have livestock, shelter them too. Give them stored feed and water from a covered source.

  • Below ground basements provide the best shelter. Avoid areas near windows; above ground, interior rooms on lower floors provide the best protection

  • Stay inside until officials say otherwise. If you must go outside, cover your nose and mouth with a folded, damp cloth. Persons with respiratory disorders should not go out at all, until told to do so by government officials.

  • If you are traveling in a motor vehicle in the affected area, close the windows and air vents. Keep the radio tuned to an EAS station. If you are a local resident, go home immediately and stay inside. If you are a visitor, leave the area immediately, or go inside a nearby building or a public shelter.

  • Public shelters near visitors - areas will be marked by large red - Emergency Shelter signs.

  • If sheltering-in-place is recommended during school hours, children will be sheltered right in the school building and cared for by school personnel.


If an evacuation is necessary, public safety officials will tell you what to do over an Emergency Alert System radio station. DO NOT evacuate unless directed to do so by public safety officials.

Take the following actions ONLY if persons in your sub-area are told to evacuate.

  • Gather all persons in the house together.

  • DO NOT try to pick up children at their schools. They will be taken to designated host schools outside the area where you may pick them up later.

  • Household members outside the area may be advised not to return during an evacuation. They will be directed to the reception center where they can join you.

  • DO NOT call your local fire or police departments for information. Emergency workers will need their phone lines for emergency use.

  • The Commissioner of Public Health may recommend that evacuating individuals, who have elected to do so, ingest potassium iodide.

Stay tuned to your Emergency Alert System Radio Station on your car or portable radio.

Evacuation: Where Do I Go?

Each sub-area has a designated reception center.

  • Taunton High School (sub-areas 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, or if you have school children in Plymouth)
  • Bridgewater State College (sub-areas 7, 8 and 11)
  • Braintree High School (sub-areas 4, 9 and 10)

If you are unsure of your sub-area, please review the map of sub-areas and click through for evacuation instructions and information for your sub-area

Taking Care of Your Pets

Have a plan in place to take your pets with you in the event of an evacuation. Only seeing-eye dogs, hearing-aid dogs and other service animals will be allowed inside the reception centers and mass care shelters.


Plans For Special Groups

It is also important to plan for specials groups such as individuals in health care facilities, those with special needs, people on beaches and boating and those with children in schools or day care centers.

Health Care Facilities

Hospital patients and residents of nursing homes who are physically able to be moved will be taken to other health care facilities outside the area if evacuation is necessary.

If time allows, families of patients well enough to be discharged on a short-term basis will be contacted by health care administrators before an evacuation occurs.

People with Special Needs

Let your local Emergency Management Director know in advance if you need any special assistance during an emergency. Special help can be made available to you. Your local Emergency Management Office is prepared to help you if you have a special need and would need assistance during a public emergency. If you or someone in your household would need special help being notified of an emergency, sheltering-in-place, evacuating, or staying in a mass care shelter, please let the Emergency Management Office know immediately. Special help is available, but is best planned before an emergency happens.

If you are hearing-impaired and would need to be notified on a TTY of a public emergency, please notify your local Emergency Management Office.

Children In Schools

All schools within the sub-areas have emergency plans. Early in an emergency, schoolchildren will be moved to "host" schools outside the area. Do not try to pick up children at their school or phone the school. The phone lines would be needed for emergency use. Instead, meet them at their host schools. Children who live inside the emergency planning zone but who go to a school outside the area will be held at their school until their parents pick them up.

If an emergency started before the beginning of the school day, school would be canceled, as it is when there is danger of a winter storm.

Day Care Centers

All day care centers within the emergency planning zone have emergency plans. Early in an emergency, day care centers will be closed. Parents will be notified of this by telephone, if possible, and asked to pick up their children. Any children not picked up will be taken to a host school outside the emergency planning zone.

In a sudden, serious emergency, children may be taken directly to a reception center for monitoring and, if necessary, decontamination. Then they would be taken to their assigned host school where you should pick them up.

Parents should listen to their local Emergency Alert System radio station to confirm this information at the time of an emergency.

People at the Beaches

In an emergency, beaches will be closed. People at the beaches should leave the area and go back to their lodgings or homes and listen to the Emergency Alert System stations. Public shelters near visitor areas will be identified by large, red "Emergency Shelter" signs.

Boaters on Cape Cod Bay

Boaters on Cape Cod Bay should follow instructions given by town Harbormasters or the U.S. Coast Guard.

If you would like a printer-friendly version of the list, please click here