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Regulators Sign Off on Seabrook Station Plan to Take Cooling Tower Offline for Maintenance

Seabrook Nuclear Plant
Jim Richmond via Flickr Creative Commons
Seabrook Nuclear Plant

Federal regulators have approved a plan by the owners of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant to temporarily take a backup water cooling tower offline for cleaning.

Seabrook Station is in the midst of a maintenance and refueling period. During this time, the station generates no electricity and employees conduct routine maintenance.

One of those maintenance projects requires taking a water cooling tower offline so that divers can clean out accumulated sediment.

That step requires federal approval because the cooling tower is used as a failsafe in the event a major earthquake closes the tunnels that bring seawater into the plant to cool the reactor.

Neil Sheehan is a spokesperson for the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“So they’ve been able to demonstrate that they have a plan to react if this very remote scenario were to occur and we’ve evaluated it and we’ve found the plan to be satisfactory.”

NextEra Energy, which owns Seabrook Station, has applied for a 20-year license renewal with the NRC. Their current license already extends to 2030.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.
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