NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 23, 2012

NRC to hear public comment

Forum added to annual meeting on Seabrook power plant

SEABROOK — At the urging of federal lawmakers, those with questions or concerns regarding Seabrook's nuclear power plant and its attempt to secure a 20-year extension to its operating license will now have a chance to voice them at a public meeting this week.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency charged with overseeing the facility, has added a public forum to its scheduled annual meeting on the performance of the power plant set for Thursday night in Hampton, N.H.

The decision was hailed as a positive step by U.S. Reps. John Tierney and Edward Markey, who have worked closely with nuclear regulators as members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee respectively.

Earlier this month, the congressmen sent a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission calling for the agency to add a public session to its "open house" meeting format to better enable those living near and working at the facility to fully understand the nature of the safety issues at the power plant.

"Local residents and businesses will now have the opportunity to ask public questions directly of NRC technical staff, including about the recent report of concrete degradation of safety-related structures at Seabrook," Tierney and Markey said in a release.

Thursday's open house will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at One Liberty Lane Conference Center at 1 Liberty Lane East. During the open house, the public will get to talk one-on-one with NRC inspectors assigned to the plant and their supervisors about what they have encountered after devoting approximately 8,100 hours of inspection to the Seabrook facility.

The newly added public forum will follow the open house. NRC staff members will present information on the plant's performance and take questions from audience members.

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