NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

March 29, 2012

Is this NextEra's idea of reassurance?

To the editor:

Al Griffith (a spokesperson for NextEra Energy Seabrook), in an effort to be reassuring, just gave voice to my worst nightmare. In The Daily News article, "West Newbury joins Seabrook safety campaign to NRC" (March 23),

Mr. Griffith is quoted as saying that fighting Seabrook's relicensing is "counterintuitive" to the goal of safety because the process of licensing involves a stringent review of plant safety, and he added, rhetorically, "Wouldn't you want more scrutiny, not less?"

The implications of his statement are chilling. First of all, his implication is that the on-site NRC inspectors are not providing an ongoing stringent review of plant safety at all times, unless there is a relicensing "review process." Shouldn't those of us who live in proximity of the plant and are being asked to put our health and property at risk, be given the most stringent review of the plant at all times? Does this mean that there is a more stringent review possible than we are currently being given on a routine basis?

Secondly, since relicensing now would give the plant a total of 40 more years before the next licensing review, doesn't Griffith's statement imply that when the plant is no longer required to undergo relicensing review, that there will again be less scrutiny, not more? Why would I support a 20-year extension on top of the 20 years left under the current license if this would guarantee less scrutiny, as Mr. Griffith is suggesting? Mr. Griffith was obviously unaware of the implications of what he was saying, but he verbalized what those of us who are sounding the alarm are fearful of — and he's the spokesperson for Seabrook power plant! Thanks, Mr. Griffith, for exposing the truth that we cannot count on receiving the most stringent scrutiny of the operations at the power plant at all times, but only when the plant is facing a review for relicensing — and then, only until the license is secured.

Kathy Stark

Newburyport

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