NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

April 5, 2012

Meeting to look at ASR at N-plant

To the editor:

The public needs to know that the NRC has called a meeting at their headquarters in Maryland on April 23 specifically to address the technical and safety issues concerning the discovery of extensive concrete degradation (ASR) in safety-related buildings at Seabrook. The NRC has invited expert speakers to present. In attendance will be the NRC's technical research branch and key NextEra staff, Seabrook operators, to discuss in technical detail this unexpected concrete degradation as the sole content of the meeting. The public is invited. For those who can't attend, the meeting will be recorded and transcribed. The public can also participate through a phone bridge.

C-10 Foundation will attend this meeting in Maryland. We recently reviewed all of the NRC construction reports from the 1980s. We are aware from NRC documentation that there were numerous issues with the concrete pours and cracks in the concrete during construction unresolved. We know that the waterproof membrane that was applied to protect buildings from water infiltration failed before the plant went online, the dewatering wells were abandoned after construction, which made the groundwater infiltration worse, and the groundwater infiltration has never been successfully mitigated. We know that in addition to causing structural degradation of the concrete itself, ASR tends to lead to corrosion of steel reinforcement bars embedded in the concrete. By the time ASR is apparent, the process has typically been occurring for some time, requiring complete and thorough testing.

To fully investigate this condition, C-10 Foundation has been working with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge in a collaborative effort to fully investigate this unresolved safety condition at Seabrook. We have consulted with an expert who is reviewing all available NRC documentation. The NRC has requested NextEra to submit an Extent of Condition Report by the end of March. When it is released, our expert will review this report and a FOIA we requested. When we have a report in hand, we will hold a press conference and make all reports available on our website.

Until NextEra releases their Extent of Condition Report that is reviewed by the NRC and our expert for accuracy and completeness, and the NRC transcribes and releases the content of their technical meeting in Maryland, no one yet knows fully the cause of the reaction, the extent to which it is occurring and the likelihood of the occurrence of the other deleterious reactions accompanying the ASR.

Debbie Grinnell

C-10 Foundation

Newburyport

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