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NRC Makes Move That Could Speed Up Seabrook Licensing

November 17, 1989

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Seabrook, N.H., nuclear power plant is nearing the end of its long regulatory journey.

Friends and foes of the $6.3 billion plant agreed Thursday that a decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to take over all pending issues confronting the plant will speed it toward a full-power operating license.

If the NRC, as expected, awards Seabrook a license, the federal courts would be the last forum for opponents to fight the plant opening.

On Thursday the NRC took out of the hands of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Appeal Board the issue of whether emergency evacuation plans for New Hampshire residents near the plant are adequate. The commission said it would decide those issues and then proceed with its final review.

″It certainly speeds up the final outcome, whatever that is,″ said Rick Bornemann, spokesman for United Illuminating Corp., which owns the second- largest share of the Seabrook plant.

Plant spokesman Rob Williams said, ″We feel that the commission will be in a position to issue the license around the end of the year.″

Opponents of Seabrook, meanwhile, reacted angrily to the NRC decision.

″I am absolutely outraged by its action this morning,″ Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said. ″I will ask for a speed-up of the congressional investigation of NRC procedures that we called for this week.″

--- Ex-Packing House Worker Says Chickens Slaughtered under Filthy Conditions

WASHINGTON (AP) - Conditions in the poultry industry amount to ″modern slavery,″ a former chicken eviscerator told a House panel in describing a daily routine of filth and harassment at a North Carolina packing plant.

″The floors regularly are covered with grease, fat, sand and roaches. Bugs are up and down the sides of the walls,″ Donna Bazemore said in testimony submitted Thursday to the House Education and Labor subcommittee on labor- management relations. ″Employees are constantly chewing and spitting out snuff and tobacco on the floor.″

″Chickens regularly fall off the line and into all the muck on the floor,″ she said in prepared remarks. ″The supervisors have workers put them back on the line.″

Bazemore, a former worker at a Perdue Industries poultry plant in North Carolina, was in a car accident Wednesday and could not appear before the subcommittee, said her attorney, Tom Devine.

The subcommittee is considering legislation to standardize the treatment and protection of whistleblowers.

Perdue Farms, headquartered in Salisbury, Md., responded by issuing a press release calling the allegations ″outrageous″ and labeling Bazemore ″less than a model employee.″

Thomas R. Moyers, Perdue’s vice president of human resources, urged Congress and the media to contact Agriculture and Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials ″and ask them if they would allow any poultry plant to function under the conditions Ms. Bazemore described.″