EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 12, 2012

NRC will continue review of Seabrook

Officials say ASR concrete monitoring will remain at forefront of concern


Moyer, a teacher at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton when the plant was under construction during the 1980s, said stories he heard from his students at the time made him worry there could be future problems with the concrete at the plant. Moyer said his students recounted parties they had near the plant where they tossed empty beer bottles into the concrete.

During the presentation, NRC senior project manager Richard Cook said that most of the concrete walls at Seabrook Station are 2 feet thick, with a tight lattice of 2-inch thick reinforcing steel bars within the walls. Cook, who led the team that recently inspected Seabrook Station’s ASR issue, said concrete provides compression strength for walls, while the web of steel reinforcing bars provides tensile strength.

There are two walls surrounding the nuclear reactor in the containment building, Cook said, a 4-foot-thick inner wall and an outer wall that’s 30 inches thick.

Although some spoke in support of NextEra Energy Seabrook at the meeting, most were there to ask questions about the ASR problem, according to NRC Region I spokesman Neil Sheehan. He added that the questions asked by those who spoke indicate they had “a good grasp” of the ASR issue.

To keep information flowing, the NRC has created a page on its website — www.nrc.gov/info-finder/reactor/seabrook/concrete-degradation.html — to consolidate information on the ASR situation at NextEra Energy Seabrook. Postings include slides from a 2012 public meeting on the topic with graphics illustrating the condition. The site will also carry all the related reports, letters and other documents concerning the ASR situation.

According to Miller, the site, which went live on Monday, is the NRC’s continued attempt to respond to the public’s desire for information on the problem.

Miller said the last inspection report is far from the end of the NRC’s attention to the situation at Seabrook Station. Another inspection is already scheduled for early 2013, he said, and NextEra is continuing to monitor the problem as well as research the possible future impact ASR could have on the structure through its project at the University of Texas.

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