Hundreds Attend Dedication of $6.6 Billion Seabrook Plant
SEABROOK, N.H. (AP) _ The $6.6 billion Seabrook nuclear power plant was dedicated Wednesday in a ceremony attended by 700 fans, including figures key to pushing completion of the plant at times when it seemed doomed.
″I’m proud to say that behind us right now, Seabrook Station is at 100 percent power, generating the electricity that so many people have worked so hard to produce,″ Ted Feigenbaum, vice president of plant operator New Hampshire Yankee, told the guests.
High-profile figures in Seabrook’s 22-year history said holding on to their dream of a nuclear power plant in New Hampshire was well worth it.
″We couldn’t give up,″ said former Gov. Meldrim Thomson. ″Why not? We need the energy.″
Thomson, who ordered the jailing of protesters during May 1977 demonstrations , said he was happy to see the plant reach 100 percent power, though at ″an almost prohibitive cost.″
A handful of plant foes gathered outside the gates. ″We will be a presence here,″ said Dianne Dunfey of the Clamshell Alliance. The alliance at times drew thousands of demonstrators to the site.
In his dedication speech, New Hampshire Yankee President Ed Brown praised Bill Derrickson, who was key to saving the plant after being hired as construction chief in 1984.
Construction began in 1976 under Thomson and was finished in 1986, but Seabrook did not receive its Nuclear Regulatory Commission license until March, two years after Seabrook’s lead owner, Public Service Company of New Hampshire, filed for bankruptcy.
″In the nuclear world - in the licensing process - you’re guilty until you prove your innocence. And to do that, it takes a long time,″ said Derrickson.
Licensing delays, cost overruns and heavy borrowing at high interest to pay for Seabrook forced Public Service’s bankruptcy. Its reorganization by Connecticut-based Northeast Utilities includes a rate agreement that will hike electricity rates 5.5 percent a year for seven years.