C-10 to host lecture by former NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko

Courtesy photoFormer Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko.

NEWBURY — A former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman will give a lecture on his book “Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator” on Sept. 12.

The lecture by Gregory Jaczko begins at 7 p.m. at First Parish Church of Newbury, 20 High Road, and will be followed by a book signing.

Jaczko was named chairman of the NRC by President Barack Obama in 2009 and played a role in the U.S. government’s response to a nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 before he resigned a year later.

He is now an adjunct professor at Princeton and Georgetown universities, and an entrepreneur with a clean-energy development company.

The event is hosted by the C-10 Foundation, a Newburyport-based group that monitors the safety of Seabrook Station nuclear power plant. The group has long pushed for closer monitoring of alkali-silica reaction at the plant, known as ASR, a chemical process that creates small cracks in concrete structures.

Natalie Hildt Treat, executive director of C-10, said she is excited about Jaczko’s lecture and believes his unique perspective on the nuclear power industry will shed light on issues relating to the presence of concrete degradation caused by ASR at the Seabrook plant.

“I think he really got a different take on how things operate and the power the industry has,” she said.

After ASR was first detected at the plant in 2009, the commission determined the affected structures could continue operating safely.

Earlier this year, the commission approved an amendment to address the presence of ASR at Seabrook Station, and in March, it granted the plant a 20-year license extension through 2050.

Treat noted that Jaczko’s lecture coincides with an upcoming hearing on concrete degradation at Seabrook Station before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board in which C-10 was granted permission to intervene.

The four-day hearing begins Sept. 24 and runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day at Newburyport City Hall. There will also be a public comment session Sept. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at City Hall.

Peter Robbins, director of communications for NextEra Energy, owner of Seabrook Station, has said that any claims or inferences by C-10 that the plant is not safe are “simply wrong and are not supported by facts.”

“The facts are straightforward: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently concluded a highly detailed, multiyear evaluation of Seabrook’s infrastructure and systems,” Robbins said. “This process involved years of scrutiny by independent technical experts and more than a dozen public meetings with opportunities for the public to comment.”

Treat said there will be time during the event for the public to ask questions.

Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey has been invited to introduce Jaczko at the event but it could not be confirmed whether he will attend.

Staff writer Jack Shea can be reached via email at jshea@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.

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