November 20, 2012

Seabrook fundamentally different from Japan sites

Letter to the Editor

I'd like to respond to a recent commentary, "Nuclear plants need more protection from nature's attacks."

Seabrook Station is fundamentally different from the units at Fukushima, Japan. One cannot compare the two. Unlike the plants in Japan, Seabrook is built in a very seismically stable area, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. And unlike the Fukushima plants, Seabrook is not located on the open ocean.

The station is located two miles inland, separated from the ocean by woods and a marsh and is elevated 21 feet above sea level to protect against flooding from high waves and extreme storm surges.

Safety is built into Seabrook's design and processes. Three diesel generators are protected by a concrete and steel-reinforced building. We have an additional reactor cooling system powered by steam generated by the plant itself.

Back-up batteries for critical safety systems are stored on-site. External cooling options (i.e. injection and fire pumps) are pre-staged on-site. We can use ocean water for cooling and we have a seven-day power supply, meaning that safety and cooling systems can be powered for seven days without requiring any off-site power or additional fuel.

In addition, we have highly trained plant operators. For one full week out of every six weeks, plant operators must prove their ability to safely operate the plant in a variety of worst-case scenarios that include earthquakes, severe storms, flooding, loss-of-power and loss of reactor core cooling.

In the past year, our team of experts has spent more than 8,500 hours performing additional safety inspections to revalidate the readiness of all critical systems, procedures and emergency training programs. This included inspections of our readiness for severe flooding.

Alan Griffith, spokesman

NextEra Energy Seabrook

Seabrook, N.H.

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