The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will not issue a safety report on Seabrook Station until the plant can better explain – and deal with – concrete degradation at the plant from groundwater.
The report, originally due out this month as part of the plant’s bid to continue operating once its license expires in 2030, will be pushed back at least until May 2012.
A spokesman for the New Hampshire nuclear plant, owned by NextEra Energy Resources, said the company is taking its time to ensure the problem is solved correctly.
“There is no urgency…we have plenty of time to deal with the condition and we are going to take the amount of time we need to develop the right strategies,’’ said spokesman Alan Griffith.
In May, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection report found that concrete surrounding an electric tunnel at Seabrook had lost almost 22 percent of its strength because it has been saturated with groundwater for more than a decade.
The NRC found no problems with any electric system, piping, or any other component in the underground structure, and the concrete walls continue to perform well above design specifications.
Still, the agency noted NextEra was having “limited success’’ in halting ground water seepage problems around the tunnel and elsewhere under the plant.
NextEra said it needs until March 2012 to do a complete engineering analysis of the problem. As a result of that schedule, the NRC says it needs to delay its report.
The degradation problem, reported to the NRC by NextEra last year, is believed to be the first confirmed instance of such degradation in a safety-related concrete structure at a US nuclear plant.
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