To the editor:
When Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane visited the Seabrook nuclear power plant earlier this month, she invited representatives of several citizens’ groups concerned about public safety to meet with her.
Those invited were the C-10 Educational Foundation represented by Sandra Gavutis and Debbie Grinnell, No More Fukushimas represented by Bruce Skud and Joanna Hammond, and the Seacoast Anti-Pollution League represented by Herb Moyer and Doug Bogen. Friends of the Coast based in Edgecomb, Maine, was also invited and represented by Raymond Shadis.
Each group presented specific concerns to the NRC chairman. The C-10 Research and Education Foundation spoke about the concrete degradation that is impacting structural integrity in safety structures at the plant. C-10 and the Union of Concerned Scientists have hired concrete expert Dr. Paul Brown to analyze the methods being employed in investigating the degradation. Dr. Brown recently reported significant flaws in the testing.
No More Fukushimas presented a statement concerning its belief that the plant should not be relicensed based on a history of inadequate plant management and weak NRC oversight. Several instances including the fact that the concrete degradation was not reported until it had reached a “moderate to severe” state were mentioned. NMF believes that the plant should not be relicensed based on a paper promise of a future fix. The chairman was reminded that 40 elected officials from surrounding Massachusetts towns have written to the NRC reiterating their concerns about relicensing especially in the light of the concrete degradation.
The Seacoast Anti-Pollution League emphasized the fact that climate changes will affect the relicensing period of 2030-2050. SAPL pointed out that since current NRC regulations do not allow flooding and seismic concerns to be addressed as part of relicensing, very important issues that affect public safety are ignored.
Friends of the Coast has been a co-intervener with the New England Coalition based in Brattleboro, Vt., in the licensing process. Mr. Shadis spoke about NRC practices that make information needed by the public inaccessible. He stated that there is no legal recourse for the public on the status or quality of promised fixes.
Each group expressed its appreciation of the opportunity to speak directly with Chairman MacFarlane. Chairman Macfarlane has stated that she believes that the NRC functions best when it considers views from a broad variety of interested parties. She has gained a reputation of being a good listener who is committed to communication and engagement with the public.
We think it is significant that the chairman has made herself available to listen to these concerns. However, we believe constant vigilance on the part of the public is of paramount importance. It is the public’s safety that is at risk.
for No More Fukushimas