SEABROOK — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed an inspection at the Seabrook nuclear power plant to address issues relating to concrete degradation due to alkali silica reaction as the plant’s owner, NextEra Energy, seeks an extension of its operating license.

ASR is a chemical reaction that causes concrete to expand and potentially reduces structural integrity. It was first detected at the plant in 2010. 

The inspection was carried out May 3 to examine plant activities and determine whether NextEra took adequate action to manage the effects of ASR at the plant following a similar inspection in 2011.

NextEra seeks a 20-year extension of the plant’s license, which expires in 2030. The inspection served as part of the NRC’s application review.

Inspectors specializing in structures and material engineering reviewed procedures and records related to how NextEra monitors the effects of ASR at the plant. They observed activities, interviewed personnel, and conducted plant “walk downs” during which they made visual assessments of the structures.

“No findings or violations of NRC requirements were identified,” the federal agency said in its report.   

“NextEra has adequately performed scoping and screening of structures, systems, and components as required in NRC regulations and established aging management programs as described in the license renewal application for the plant,” said NRC representative Neil Sheehan in an email to The Daily News.

Sheehan said the inspection’s results support the conclusion there is “reasonable assurance” that the effects of ASR at Seabrook Station will be managed through programs described in NextEra’s application for a renewal license.

He added that NRC headquarters staff will continue to review the renewal application and that the inspection does not fully reach conclusions about the application’s acceptability.

Sheehan said the inspection results will be considered during future reviews because they “support the conclusions that the Seabrook aging management programs and procedures to manage the effects of ASR are consistent with the Seabrook application, that structures are properly scoped per license renewal regulations, and that the procedures are achievable and implementable in the plant in a manner that provides for auditable and retrievable records.”

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.

ONLINE EXTRA: Go online to read a PDF of the NRC’s report on Seabrook Station.

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