Yes, there is Seabrook’s License Amendment Request, and of course the core work of our real-time monitoring. But C-10 is also engaged in an array of projects to educate the public about what it means to live near a nuclear plant. We are working to create new print and online resources and plan a series of talks including topics such as evacuation planning and health impacts of ionizing radiation.
Do you have a few hours a week or month to contribute to the effort? Know a high school or college student looking for experience? Please contact Natalie Treat, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. Whatever your talents, we can find a way to use them!
“An Act Requiring Monitoring of Certain Radioactive Air Pollutants,” will be heard before the New Hampshire House Committee on Science, Technology and Energy on Tuesday, January 23 at 10:15 AM in room 304 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord.
New Hampshire does not currently operate or support a real-time radiation monitoring network in the vicinity of Seabrook Station, instead relying on proprietary readings taken by plant owner NextEra Energy Resources – as well as the passive data collected by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission through a system of thermos-luminescent dosimeters, or TLDs – that gather cumulative levels of ionizing radiation.
Seacoast legislators, including lead-sponsor Rep. Mindi Messmer (Rockingham-24) are again working to change that with the introduction of House Bill 1779-FN,
Rep. Messmer, an environmental scientist by training (pictured above), has taken a particular interest in the public health mystery of a childhood cancer cluster in the N.H. seacoast. While there are many forms of environmental pollution identified in the region, due to the known health effects of ionizing radiation, Messmer and her colleagues believe the state should be tracking airborne radiation levels.
The people who live and work in the communities surrounding Seabrook Station nuclear power plant carry a special responsibility to understand that the risk of an accident — however small — is real. It’s wise to be pro-active and learn what you would do, and where you would go, in the event of a significant radiological release. The following is information compiled from state and federal agencies.
We are excited to share a new six-minute video introduction to the C-10 Research and Education Foundation, including why and how we monitor airborne radiation in the communities surrounding Seabrook Station nuclear power plant, a bit about the plant itself, and the ongoing and serious concerns regarding the failing concrete at Seabrook.
Please take a look, and share if you see fit! Many thank to Rick Dumont and his team from Sweaty Turtle Entertainment for producing the video, and to the Institution for Savings as well as private donors for making this project possible.
We were blown away too. There are discussions at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about allowing nuclear plants to write their own self-assessments. You know, as a way of cutting back on all that pesky regulation.
Here are some of the reasons we believe surrendering safety review to plant operators would put the public at risk:
“As for-profit entities that weigh safety as only one performance metric among many, there is an inherent problem in expecting commercial nuclear plant owners to be unbiased and completely transparent when it comes to safety concerns that could put the public at risk — no matter how small or large they are perceived to be.
It will generally be in the plant owners’ and shareholders’ interests to minimize any problems that might be detected, rather than self-reporting and calling forth regulatory and public scrutiny. The possibility for reduced transparency concerns us as citizens whose lives are immediately impacted by ongoing safety problems at Seabrook Station, including and not limited to the problem known as alkali silica reaction. Transparency and the opportunity for public input is an essential part of NRC’s work, and key to C-10’s ability to function as citizen watchdogs.” Read our full comments, here.
As a pro se party without legal representation, we’ve been working with attorneys from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Seabrook owner NextEra Energy to establish ground rules relative to the discovery process, schedule, sensitive document access and so forth.
The public hearing the ASLB ordered in its ruling won’t happen until after NRC staff issues their recommendations on the License Amendment Request, and that won’t be until fall of 2018. We do know that the hearing be held near Seabrook Station and likely will last several days. C-10 was the only outside party that sought and was granted intervenor status.
Meanwhile, as former C-10 staff and board members pour through old emails and compile documents to support our contentions, the clock ticked down on the deadline to appeal the ASLB’s ruling.
On Halloween, there was no treat from NextEra attorneys, whose appeal hammered the ASLB for considering regulatory precedent in their decision to give leeway to a citizens group, and for taking the recommendation of NRC staff and reformulating the five contentions they admitted had merit into one:
“The large-scale test program, undertaken for NextEra at the FSEL, has yielded data that are not ‘representative’ of the progression of ASR at Seabrook. As a result, the proposed monitoring, acceptance criteria, and inspection intervals are not adequate.”
Young people have lots of ways to use their precious time. That’s why it was so gratifying to see two stellar young ladies volunteer their time and talents to assist us with some important projects this summer.
Samantha McCraine was busy juggling other internships, waiting tables and preparing for graduate school. Still, she found time to help us freshen up our website and develop new fact sheets. We wish Samantha well at the London School of Economics, where she recently began a 12-month Master of Science program in Environmental Policy and Regulation.
Margot Springer wowed us with her maturity and level of interest in C-10’s mission as a rising high school freshman. Margot worked with our monitoring network administrator Mike Mansir to develop a new equipment inventory system. She also helped with research and data management. We hope you love Whittier Tech, Margot — don’t be a stranger!
If you know someone looking for some great experience working with a citizen science organization please refer them to our website where they can learn about our internship program.
Newburyport Adult Ed class offers insights and lessons from local expert
The culture of obedience and the lack of the public’s ability to ask questions contributed to the chain of events that triggered the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. This is what Gary Dunbar believes, and it points to the importance of a strong democracy, freedom of speech and the role of citizen groups to engage with — and sometimes question — the government.
Dunbar is a West Newbury resident who worked for a decade as a government consultant in and around Russia and the former Soviet republics, most notably with officials trying to manage the after-effects of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown.
“Cultural differences would make it extremely unlikely for something like Chernobyl to happen in the U.S.” said Dunbar, adding that “the macho culture in Ukraine exceeds anything I’ve ever seen; it’s a very different world.”
“What your group (the C-10 Foundation) can do in this culture is vastly important,” Dunbar observed. “You have the ability to take bureaucracy to task, to raise issues and ask questions.The fact that it exists and you’re able to ask questions is an enormously important safeguard that we have in this country.”
The C-10 Research & Education Foundation has been granted standing following its pro se petition to intervene in a regulatory proceeding regarding the plant’s safety and operating license.
NextEra Energy Seabrook LLC’s pending License Amendment Request is relative to the deteriorating concrete at the plant, which has been operating since 1991. Citing serious safety concerns with the concrete and flaws in the concrete testing and monitoring methodologies, C-10 sought intervenor status in the docket, and requested a public hearing.
So, you live near a nuclear power plant. Not something you think about much. It sits there, rising from the Seabrook, New Hampshire marsh; you see it from the beach or your way up Route 1. It makes electricity, it doesn’t belch black smoke – good things.
Maybe you think about it a couple times a year – like when school starts and you are asked to sign the permission slip for your kid to be given potassium iodide (KI) which will help protect their thyroid in the event of an accident at Seabrook Station. Hopefully you held onto that calendar from the state with the quaint antique photos. The one that says to keep in the event of an emergency because there’s evacuation instructions inside. Not a bad idea to review that, and discuss with your family. To learn more and consider your own emergency plan, here’s the link to MEMA‘s website if you live in Massachusetts, or HSEM if you live in New Hampshire. Continue reading Safety for Citizens: Why I think about Seabrook Nuclear Plant, and Why You Should Too→