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IAEA nuclear safety team making follow-up trip to Seabrook Station

An International Atomic Energy Agency-led inspection team will be at the Seabrook Station nuclear reactor this week for a follow-up safety review.

The nuclear power plant on the Seacoast was the subject of a voluntary IAEA safety review back in 2011, when a 14-member international team reviewed operations at the facility. The Operational Safety Review Team, or OSART, review found “no new safety-significant issues” there, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which regulates the 104 commercial nuclear power plants in the United States.

A four-member OSART team will be at the plant today through Friday to follow up on that 2011 inspection, according to the NRC, including two people from the IAEA and one each from Brazil and France.

Such international inspections are unusual, at least in the United States, where only seven plants including Seabrook have received an OSART review since the program began in 1982.

IAEA spokesman Greg Webb said in an email that such missions “are a service provided to IAEA member states at their request, so it is the host nation that decides what facilities will be visited.” The NRC said Seabrook’s owner, Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources, made the plant available for the review.

“The company volunteered,” wrote NRC spokeswoman Diane Screnci in an email.

Construction on Seabrook’s single reactor started in 1976, and it began operating in 1990 after much controversy. Its current operating license will expire in 2030.

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