NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

December 30, 2013

Officials right to call for N-plant shutdown

To the editor:

On Dec. 18, state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives and Rep. Michael Costello took the courageous step on behalf of the safety of their constituents by calling for an immediate shutdown of the Seabrook nuclear power plant.

We witnessed this historic and courageous declaration at the NRC public meeting convened in Hampton that was intended to showcase NextEra’s fatally flawed ASR study of the long-term reliability of the plant — a schoolboy experiment with our lives, our property and our businesses.

To our knowledge, this is the first time that any elected official — since the plant was constructed — has called for a shutdown. We are deeply grateful that they took this bold but essential step. It is particularly fitting that this came from our state and local elected officials who realize first-hand the risks that the Seabrook plant poses to our lives, our property and our businesses.

We do not have to look any further than the Fukushima disaster to know what the consequences of a radiological release can be. The Fukushima disaster occurred on March 11, 2011, and still to this day there are hundreds of thousands displaced, they can only return to their homes for short visits, and their livelihood is in shambles.

It’s a living hell for the people of Fukushima; but, this could happen to us. The entire foundation of the Seabrook plant is also vulnerable to degradation because it is riddled by concrete degradation due to ASR. Can it withstand an earthquake? We remind everyone of a 4.0 level earthquake only 50 miles from the Seabrook plant last year. What if it had been stronger and closer? Please remember that an earthquake was the “root cause” of the disaster at Fukushima.

Why would they take this bold step now? We believe that the game changer could have been that the risk of a disaster and the threat of evacuation has gone up exponentially since ASR was disclosed as festering in 131 locations in the plant and in at least five key safety structures. We do not know of anyone around here who believes that a safe evacuation is possible — no matter how brave or skilled our emergency responders may be.

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