GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

September 20, 2013

Letter: Vt. closure raises red flags over Seabrook

To the editor:

The recent decision to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant was characterized by Entergy, its owner, as “economic,” the result of an unfavorable energy marketplace.

Vermont Yankee also suffered from serious, costly safety problems, which, undoubtedly, contributed to the plant’s demise as well. These safety problems have prompted vocal and persistent reaction from Vermont residents for many years.

Vermonters remember, for instance, that in 2007 one of Vermont Yankee’s cooling towers collapsed.

Subsequently, Vermont’s Department of Health reported traces of radioactive tritium in the Connecticut River (traced back to the plant), and found fish in the Connecticut River with detectable levels of strontium-90 in their bones and edible flesh. Vermont’s governor summed up the closure decision by stating, “This is the right decision for Vermont.”

The Seabrook nuclear plant faces the same “economic” challenges that supposedly closed Vermont Yankee. Likewise, Seabrook is dogged by serious, dangerous and ongoing safety problems. Specifically:

In July 2013, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reported cracked steam generator tubes. This has been a recurring problem.

The Seabrook plant is plagued by degradation of the plant’s concrete foundation resulting from “alkali-silica reaction (ASR),” a condition that weakens concrete structures. Seabrook is the only U.S. plant hobbled by ASR, which has been characterized by the NRC as “moderate to severe” and which affects some key safety structures. Although the NRC has approved operation for the short term, the plant is conducting a long-term reliability study of the concrete. Obviously, this weakening could jeopardize public safety, especially if a severe earthquake were to occur (a 4.0 earthquake has occurred about 20 miles from the plant).

A 2012 Stanford University study published in The Washington Post identified the Seabrook plant as one of the most vulnerable nuclear power plants in the United States to flooding due to rising sea levels and storm surges.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters/My View

NDN Video
Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man Explosions as hot air balloon crashes in Clinton DUI Driver Dragged to Safety by Officer After Walking Onto Busy Freeway Celebrities That We'd Like to Send to the Moon Spectacular lightning storm hits London Malaysian Flight Victim Was South Florida Grad Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Lowes employees repair Vietnam vet's wheelchair Widow of Staten Island man who died after NYPD takedown says he was unjustifiably targeted