Washington (May 10, 2021) – Following the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) March 5, 2021 order to extend the time for review of the License Amendment for Seabrook Nuclear Power Station, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today wrote to the NRC urging the Commission to strengthen the safety conditions placed by the Atomic Safety Licensing Board (ASLB) on the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant in August 2020. The senators asked the NRC to enhance safety standards and testing and monitoring requirements in order to sufficiently address concerns about structural degradation at Seabrook caused by alkali-silica reaction (ASR). ASR is a process that occurs when concrete with high alkali content is exposed to high levels of moisture, leading to cracking and degradation of concrete over time -- a serious concern at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, which sits on a marsh and has continual contact with water.
Last August, the ASLB issued its decision to uphold the NRC’s approval of NextEra Energy’s license amendment for Seabrook, subject to four license conditions. Although the inclusion of these four conditions was an important step towards ensuring public safety, Senators Markey and Warren are urging the NRC to consider supplemental expert testimony and take further action to strengthen the conditions.
“The NRC should prioritize safety, scientific expertise, and regulatory specificity as it works to develop regulations to ensure that this unprecedented condition does not threaten the structural integrity of the facilities in which it occurs,” write the Senators in their letter to the NRC. “We request that the NRC reopen the record for consideration of supplemental testimony and strengthen the four license conditions in the ASLB’s Initial Decision.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
At the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station, Senator Markey has fought for using the best science regarding the degradation caused by ASR. He also worked with his colleagues to push for public meetings and hearings before the NRC renewed or amended the Seabrook plant license, and previously called on the NRC to address safety concerns before any license extensions are issued.