On March 12, 2019, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission extended the operating license for Seabrook Station through 2050.
This decision was made amid the ongoing legal intervention and yet-to-be-scheduled formal public hearing on the ASR issue (by our allies C-10), against the wishes of both New Hampshire and Massachusetts congressional delegations, and despite the fact that nuclear power has proven to be an economic albatross, dependent on public tax dollars in the form of government bailouts and subsidies.
Regardless of the NRC’s decision, the issues at Seabrook Station remain. The protective infrastructure that separates the public from nuclear radiation is actively deteriorating and is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise (see item #3), the evacuation plan is recklessly inadequate, and radiation leakage is still a serious concern.
Unfortunately, license renewals have little to do with the actual health of the power plant (or the safety of the people) and more to do with shoring up shareholder confidence for energy companies. While most plants older than Seabrook have already received license renewals, several announced their closing shortly after obtaining their 20-year license extension, including Vermont Yankee and Pilgrim in our region and Fort Calhoun and Palisades in the Midwest. Not one nuclear plant in the world has made it to 50 years of operation, let alone the 60 years that the NRC claims they are capable of.
The fact is, nuclear power is neither efficient nor sustainable. Despite having the goalposts moved in their favor for decades, nuclear power cannot compete in a competitive marketplace without significant bailouts and subsidies. In the business world, wind power is on the rise and people are realizing that nuclear power is an economic loser.
The danger here, however, arises when an industry in financial decline starts to cut corners in safety and staffing in an attempt to make their margins. As the nuclear industry desperately pushes for deregulation in order to save money, we are left to wonder who will pay the price.
What can we do in the meantime?
- Keep holding Seabrook Station accountable. Contact your legislators and encourage them to pass New Hampshire Senate Bill 181 to require the monitoring of radioactive air pollutants near Seabrook Station.
- Support the rise of Offshore Wind in New Hampshire.
- Contact us if you want to learn more.
- View the official NRC Press Release on Seabrook’s license renewal
- Renewal documents and info on the process are available on the NRC site
- Read an article on the dangers of deregulation as the dying nuclear industry desperately looks for ways to make their profit margins.
(Seabrook image: Getty Images for nonprofits)