Shame on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Seabrook Station looms next to condo.
I photographed this in 2007 and shared it on Flickr.

Did the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission learn nothing from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation severing its ties with Planned Parenthood, only to reverse that decision days later?

There are countless examples in recent history when internet uprisings about corporate decisions caused crisis communications teams to rethink their actions. Remember the 2008 battle between Motrin and mommybloggers? How about the 2009 backlash from that Domino’s Pizza video?

City, state, and federal lawmakers have signed petitions in opposition to the NRC’s relicensing process for the Seabrook Station nuclear power plant — including a unanimous resolution approved by the Newburyport City Council this month — yet the federal agency is explicit that they do not care.

“We value such input and carefully consider it,” says NRC Region 1 spokesman Neil Sheehan in this longer story in the Daily News. “In the end, the NRC’s decisions are based on evaluations of whether nuclear power plants can continue to operate safely, (which is) consistent with our mission.”

In other words, the agency admits public input about safety concerns is secondary to safety evaluations by industry experts.

Komen, Motrin, and Domino’s reversed their actions when they realized people cared.

Does the federal government not care?

The kicker is in a quotation I found two months ago by Ho Nieh, the chief of staff to NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff. Nieh said, “I’ve been with the agency for 15 years, and I view the NRC as being a bunch of apolitical nerds outside the beltway doing nuclear issues.”

Shame on them.

Comments

  1. says

    Ari,
    Thanks so much for helping bring this to issue to public attention and pointing out the reality that citizen concern is being ignored. I have created a Facebook Page where local residents can get facts and updates on this issue: https://www.facebook.com/StopSeabrookRelicensing

    Newburyport should be proud of their participation. We had a special “workshop” about the issue at the Amesbury Town Council last week. Bruce Skud gave a great presentation about the citizen concerns. And the power plant sent their best salesman who gave a great pitch with photos and pieces of concrete. To say I didn’t trust that he had my best interest in mind is an understatement.

    Thanks again!

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