NRC Continues To Study Deteriorating Concrete At Seabrook

Dec 12, 2012

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says there are no immediate safety concerns at the Seabrook nuclear power plant.

Representatives from the NRC held a public meeting Tuesday night in Hampton to discuss ongoing issues with concrete degradation. 

The NRC is currently reviewing evidence of Alkali-silica reaction, or ASR, at the Seabrook nuclear power plant, owned and operated by Next Era energy.

This type of degradation results in cracking as silica gel expands in the concrete. ASR was first confirmed in August of 2010 and is now reported in five different structures at the facility.  That's prompted an independent investigation by the NRC into potential safety concerns.

While the NRC representatives assured the crowd of about 100 people that there are no immediate safety issues resulting from this degradation, Bill Cook - the team leader of the investigation at Seabrook - describes the process as ongoing.

“There’s still more work to be done. Work to be done to assess the impact of ASR on concrete structures at Seabrook -- more to be done by NextEra and more to be done by the NRC to review and oversee NextEra’s work and then to independently assess the ASR effect on those concrete structures.”

NextEra’s application for a renewal of their license through 2050 is currently on-hold pending further review by the NRC.