Feds To Hold Public Hearing On Seabrook Nuclear Plant's Concrete Cracks Tonight

Sep 23, 2019

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will take public comment Monday night at the start of a week-long hearing about degraded concrete at the Seabrook nuclear power plant.

The hearing is before a panel of administrative law judges. It was requested by the Seabrook watchdog group C-10.

They cite an independent expert in saying Seabrook’s owner, NextEra, didn’t properly study the cracks forming in the concrete used to build Seabrook. As a result, C-10 says, the company’s monitoring plan for the cracks is inadequate.

Seabrook is the only nuclear plant in the country known to be experiencing the chemical reaction causing the cracks in the concrete.

But regulators have repeatedly found that the plant is operating safely. They recently approved NextEra’s management plan for the cracks and extended Seabrook’s operating license through 2050. That new license takes effect in 2030.

This week's hearing is separate from the relicensing process, but could result in findings that lead to changes in the future.

The public comment session is 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at city hall in Newburyport, Mass. Residents can also watch the first day of the adjudicative hearing Tuesday.

Seabrook is one of two nuclear plants left in New England. The other is Millstone Station in Connecticut. Together, they typically supply about a third of the region’s electricity.