January 18, 2019

Warren, Markey, Moulton: Community Concerns Must Be Heard, Safety Issues Addressed Before Extending and Amending Seabrook License

Lawmakers express concerns over plans to approve Seabrook amendment before scheduled hearing

Text of the Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Seth Moulton (MA-06) today urged the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to reevaluate and abandon its plan to approve the license amendment and license renewal for the Seabrook Nuclear Plant without waiting for a planned hearing on the license amendment, set to take place this summer. The lawmakers also express their concerns with how the Seabrook plant operator plans to monitor, assess, and address structural degradation at the plant caused by the alkali-silica reaction (ASR). According to the NRC, the license amendment is set to be approved on or around January 22, and the license renewal will be approved on or around January 30. The license renewal will extend Seabrook’s operating license from 2030 to 2050.

“This timeline will effectively silence local stakeholders and minimize their critical role in the amendment review process,” wrote Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Moulton. “Structural degradation linked to the alkali-silica reaction (ASR) has caused Seabrook to operate outside of its design basis, driving the need for a license amendment. We request that the license amendment and renewal be delayed until after the evidentiary hearing takes place, so that concerns over the plant’s safety can be properly heard and reflected.”

Senator Warren has previously called on the NRC to ensure that proper safety assessments are thoroughly conducted and implemented before it extends the license for Seabrook. Along with Massachusetts officials, she called for a public meeting on safety at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant. She most recently pressed the NRC on safety concerns at Pilgrim Power Plant in October 2018.