In a blog post of December 4, 2011, I wrote, “Thirty percent of New England’s electricity generation is from nuclear plants (ISO Regional System Plan 2011). Three out of five of these five plants are past their design life time. All use mostly imported uranium, and exercise questionable safety by storing greater numbers of densely packed, spent fuel rods at the plants. Nuclear power plants have a finite lifetime. Replacing a decommissioned plant with another will be extremely expensive and time consuming. For example, an AP1000 nuclear power plant (Generation III+) built by Westinghouse will cost between $5B to $7B per reactor and be operational 60 months from receipt of order.
Those comments were reinforced with an article in the Boston Globe (February 9, 2012), “Officials question safety of Seabrook power:”
“Citing safety concerns, a growing chorus of local politicians is urging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to halt the relicensing process for Seabrook Station until a long-term solution is implemented to address concrete degradation at the plant.”
“Concrete surrounding an electric control tunnel at the nuclear power plant has lost almost 22 percent of its strength and is showing signs of an alkali-silica (ASR) reaction because of more than a decade of ground-water infiltration, according to an NRC inspection report released in May 2011.”
“The degradation was discovered during a below-grade inspection of the accessible portion of the foundation, including the tunnel, a safety structure with vital electric cables that support the cooling system used when the reactor is shut down.”
How many more Fukushima-Chernobyl wakeup calls are needed to put safety concerns ahead of profit motives?Tags: Chernobyl, Degraded Concrete, Fukushima, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Safety, Seabrook