NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

April 26, 2012

I know first-hand nuclear plant is safe

To the editor:

Being an employee at Seabrook Station and a Newburyport resident, I have a unique perspective on the concrete issue (ASR) that continues to be in the news lately.

I thought that the recent front page coverage on ASR in The Daily News where a reporter, editor and photographer were granted access to the "B" electrical tunnel was balanced and thorough. I also found it ironic that in that very same edition, on page 4, was a story covering a West Newbury selectmen's meeting where opponents to Seabrook's relicensing were critical of the plant for not allowing the media inside the plant to see ASR for themselves.

In the almost 30 years now I have worked at the plant, I have come to understand that some of the people who oppose nuclear power and Seabrook Station are not all that interested in facts. They tend not to trust the word of nuclear professionals such as myself, nor do they trust the NRC. This lack of trust is really the great divide when it comes to the nuclear debate and tends to cloud any kind of meaningful discussion when it comes to issues such as ASR.

For anyone concerned about ASR and who hasn't already leapt to conclusions about its impact to our operations, we know that the ASR we discovered and reported to the NRC is limited to an extremely small fraction of our total concrete structures. We have very small affected areas surrounded by massive, steel-reinforced concrete completely unaffected by ASR. And even in the ASR-affected areas, there is nothing degraded about the wall's function, and in fact, the walls derive their strength from the steel rebar inside. We and the NRC have revalidated repeatedly that ASR has not affected our ability to operate safely. If it did, we would shut the plant down — period. We have a comprehensive plan in place to effectively manage ASR for the long term.

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