Tag Archives: Citizen Safety

NextEra’s Halloween Trick: Seabrook Owner Appeals Board Ruling

An Update on the License Amendment Process & Seabrook’s Concrete

As we wrote on our October 8 blog, the federal Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB)  granted C-10 intervenor status in the docket relative to NextEra’s License Amendment Request concerning the ability of the Seabrook Station nuclear plant’s deteriorating concrete to continue to perform as intended.

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.”

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Chernobyl and the Collapse of the Soviet Union

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.

Gary Dunbar shares his lessons from Chernobyl and the former Soviet Union.

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.”

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