SEABROOK — Born and raised in Lawrence, it isn’t surprising that after working far away for decades, Paul Cataldo is delighted to be back in the region as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s latest senior resident inspector at Seabrook Station nuclear power plant.
Since the late 1970s, the NRC has used resident inspectors daily at each of the nation’s nuclear power plants, to act as the agency’s eyes and ears. Each plant has at least two on-site inspectors to ensure they run safely and in compliance with NRC rules and regulations.
Cataldo, who has worked for the NRC since 1997 at nuclear power plants in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York, assumed his role as senior resident inspector at NextEra Energy Seabrook nuclear power plant in May 2013, joining inspector Chris Newport.
“I always loved science as a kid,” said Cataldo, 49. “I was always taking things apart because I wanted to see how they worked. And my dad worked for the nuclear industry as a senior health physicist involved in radiation protection. That really got me interested in nuclear power.”
The son of Sam and Joan Cataldo, he grew up in Lawrence, with his brother David, who currently lives in Salisbury, and three sisters, Jane, Nancy and Susan. Attending local schools, including Central Catholic High School until his junior year, Cataldo headed out to New Jersey to finish up at Admiral Farragut Academy, a naval prep school, graduating in 1983.
With a love for the sea, Cataldo enlisted in the Navy in 1984, taking a test to see if he had what it took to enter the nuclear program. He passed, and after boot camp, Cataldo began training to become part of the “nuclear Navy.”
He was assigned to duty as a petty officer on the nuclear powered submarine the U.S.S. Seahorse, remaining there until he left the Navy in 1989. By then, his mom had moved to Salisbury, which is where Cataldo set up home base after leaving military duty.