‘Concrete Cancer’ Spreading at Seabrook Nuclear Plant

by on November 2, 2021 · 2 comments

in Energy, Environment

Nuclear Shutdown News

By Michael Steinberg /  Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those working to create a nuclear free world.

Concrete Cancer Spreading in New England Nuclear Plant

On October 5 Boston TV station WBZ reported “Concrete Cracking at Seabrook Nuclear Plant” in New Hampshire.

The 36 year old nuke plant has been developing fissures in its structures for some time. Natalie Hildt Treat, executive director of regional nuclear watchdog group C-10 Research and Education Foundation recalled visiting Seabrook several years ago. She saw “a spider web of cracking” in the building.

The technical term for this problem is alkali silico reaction, or ASR. This can occur when moisture enters concrete, causing swelling and cracking. It’s also known as concrete cancer.

According to James Lambrechts, a professor at Boston’s Wentworth Institute of Technology, “ASR is certainly a concern. The longer you let it go, the bigger the cracks get, the deeper the problem becomes.”

WBZ reported that Seabrook is the first US nuclear plant to develop this problem. Last August the Nuclear Regulatory Commission cited Seabrook owner New Era Energy for not addressing the cracking in a timely manner. The NRC further found that the cracks are growing in two undergound hallways, as well as the wall of the control room and a diesel generator.

The control room is considered the brains of a nuclear plant, responsible of its startup and shut down.

Born To Lose

Seabrook’s construction began in 1976, with plans to build two reactors on site for less than $1billion. The 2nd reactor was  cancelled, and the other took 10 years  and at a cost of $10 billion.

This was in part because of mass new nukes protests that erupted after the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in 1979. In the largest of these at Seabrook, over 2000 occupied the site and 1400 were arrested. That group called itself the Clamshell Alliance, and it was allied with the Abalone Alliance in California and the Oyster Alliance in New Orleans.

Seabrook’s original owner, Public Service of New Hampshire, declared bankruptcy in 1989. At the time it was the 4th largest corporate bankruptcy in US history.

Today, Seabrook is one of the last two nuclear plants left in the Northeast. The other is the Millstone nuke’s two likewise decrepit reactors in southeastern Connecticut, my old home place.


Sources: WBZ TV, bostoncbslocal.com; Wikipedia, wikipedia.org


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mat Wahlstrom November 2, 2021 at 2:01 pm

Excellent article about spalling, which not only affects nuclear power plants but in fact almost every single high rise building and structure (such as the OB Pier) built with rebar-enforced concrete. Deeply problematic not only as a matter of public safety but also as an environmental hazard and sustainability issue. Recommend this article for more information, https://theconversation.com/the-problem-with-reinforced-concrete-56078


sealintheSelkirks November 2, 2021 at 8:41 pm

Speaking of problems with nuclear reactors, there are some real problems developing at Chernobyl if anybody is paying attention… It isn’t just concrete falling apart or the giant cover that was put over it. It’s the core that is heating up again for some reason nobody quite knows the why of.

Crumbling poisonous reactors are world problems, not just local.

On a side note has anybody found the 200 ton cores of the multiple melt-downs of Fukushima yet that disappeared into the ground like giant gophers? And let us not forget San O and their ‘buried in the sand’ deadly boxes just waiting for a nice big storm surge to wash it out into deeper water…I mean, how much did the bright Idiocracy boy get for thinking that you could bury radioactive waste in beach sand a couple hundred yards from the ocean? I mean, REALLY?

And up here there is Hanford to my s/sw and don’t get me going on how bad THAT place is. I just read a recent article that is most worrisome…gives me the shivers it does.



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