Global Nuclear News

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The US Atomic Safety and Licensing Board said it needs more time to decide whether to uphold a 20-year licence extension and related operating licence amendment for NextEra Energy’s Seabrook-1 nuclear power plant.

atomic safety board delays seabrook nuclear plant decision -oilandgas360

The Seabrook nucler power station in Massachusetts. Photo courtesy Jim Richmond/ChNPP/Wikipedia

The ASLB was scheduled to issue a decision by 9 April, but now anticipates that it will make a ruling by 10 July. It notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it is “working on the ruling but has concluded that an extension of time is required”.

This is the second extension in deciding an appeal brought by Massachusetts-based environmental group C-10. The group is contesting the licence amendment granted by the NRC which saw NextEra’s operating licence at Seabrook extended to 2050.

C-10 is challenging how NextEra will mitigate the alkali-silica reaction (ASR) in the Seabrook facility’s concrete over the coming decades.

ASR, commonly known as “concrete cancer”, is a swelling reaction that occurs over time in concrete between the highly alkaline cement paste and the reactive non-crystalline silica found in many common aggregates, given sufficient moisture.

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board is the independent trial-level adjudicatory body of the NRC. It consists of administrative law judges who hear complaints on safety issues related to the nuclear industry.

Seabrook is a single, 1,246-MW pressurized water reactor unit that began commercial operation in 1990.

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