The ASR problem, which came to light on the heels of Seabrook Station’s announcement that it was seeking to extend its operating license by an additional 20 years, sparked immediate controversy.
Many of Seabrook Station’s opponents turned out Tuesday night to question not only the status of the ASR and the plant’s safety, but also the NRC’s handling of the situation.
NRC officials ensured that in spite of the ASR, Seabrook Station is structurally sound and well within its physical margins to operate safely. The NRC has repeatedly confirmed the plant is safe, but Tuesday’s update came after the issuance of a lengthy report following a recent substantial review of the situation, which included a three-week on-site inspection.
Newburyport resident Bruce Skud of No More Fukushimas told the NRC officials that although he was “thrilled” to hear that the recent inspection showed Seabrook Station is safe, he found himself quite angry with the agency for not shutting down the plant when the problem was first discovered in the late summer of 2010.
Christopher Miller, director of the NRC’s division of reactor safety, assured Skud that there had been a number of reviews of the situation prior to the recent one. All those reviews determined the ASR-affected concrete at the plant retained its physical integrity and was assessed as operable but degraded, meaning the plant was safe.
For Herb Moyer of the Exeter, N.H.-based Seacoast Anti Pollution League, the problem refueled his long-held displeasure with having a nuclear power plant in Seabrook. Moyer told NRC officials he’d been fighting the plant since 1969, when its construction was first floated. He opposed the approval of the plant’s first operating license, he said, and is now fighting the approval of the extension.