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N.H. considers 2d nuclear reactor

Environmentalist calls idea 'reckless'

CONCORD, N.H. -- Lawmakers worried about the state's energy needs are raising the possibility of rebuilding Seabrook Station's second nuclear reactor -- an idea that doesn't sit well with some environmentalists.

''We need to increase power generation in the state of New Hampshire," Bob Clegg, the Senate majority leader, said Friday. ''People all over the country are starting to realize we dropped the ball when we allowed a vocal minority to stop production of nuclear power."

Clegg said he and other members of the leadership want to explore the possibility of rebuilding the reactor though they have yet to approach officials at Seabrook Station.

Power companies around the state are raising their rates or proposing to raise them, he noted.

''If we had built the second reactor, New England wouldn't be in the problem it's in now," Clegg said. ''We're going to lose businesses because they can't afford the increases."

But environmentalists say other options must be considered.

''I think it's reckless to even start talking about building another reactor without first having the discussion on all options first," said Catherine Corkery of the New Hampshire Sierra Club.

''There's no technology to deal with the waste. In this new age we live in 2006, that threatens the safety and health of our communities. We are smart enough to come up with other options," she said.

Al Griffith, spokesman for Seabrook Station, said there are no plans to rebuild the second reactor, which was dismantled three years ago. Prolonged litigation is blamed for cost overruns that led to a decision to leave the second reactor incomplete.

But that doesn't mean new reactors may not be added elsewhere, Griffith said.

''There are active consortiums investigating the building of the next generation of nuclear power plants. It is going to happen, the question is when and where," Griffith said.

''New England has not been talked about as a location, and certainly not Seabrook Station," he said.

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