, Newburyport, MA

January 4, 2013

Seabrook plant: Too early to relicense

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

No More Fukushimas! takes issue with the Viewpoint column, “Safety of nuclear plants must outweigh election year politics,” by the head of the American Nuclear Society’s Public Policy Committee, Paul Dickman (The Daily News, Dec. 26). Mr. Dickman literally says that the decision to seek a license extension is a business decision and not a safety decision.

The American Nuclear Society asks for the defeat of the Nuclear Reactor Safety First Act (HR 6554) that would prevent the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from allowing plants to renew their license prior to 10 years before the expiration of their current operating licenses. Normally, it only takes about three years for the relicensing process itself.

Mr. Dickman’s article was sloppy because he failed to mention that the NRC conducts relicensing to assess aging plant systems and to ensure that the plant develops an acceptable “aging management plan.” Congressmen Tierney and Markey submitted this bill to prevent the NRC from allowing nuclear plant owners to apply for relicensing as much as 20 years before their current operating license expires.

This is the case at the Seabrook plant where the owners applied for relicensing only half-way through the current 40-year operating license. In other words, the Seabrook plant is still in its infancy. It simply does not make sense to assess a nuclear plant before a great deal of its aging has actually occurred! You do not have to be a member of the American Nuclear Society to realize that most of the aging process occurs in the second half of the plant’s life.

No More Fukushimas! unequivocally endorses HR 6554. We thank Congressmen Markey and Tierney for their efforts to protect the safety of the thousands of families who reside near the Seabrook plant. The American Nuclear Society’s viewpoint is shamelessly protective of investor safety — not public safety.

Joanna Hammond and Bruce Skud

Co-founders, No More Fukushimas!