Another Nuclear Reactor Near Berwick Uncertain

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SALEM TOWNSHIP -- Big questions remain about the future of a nuclear plant near Berwick.

Monday we reported it has a new owner. There's also a proposal to build another nuclear plant near the existing Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant.

Along with the environmental impact being discussed, the company making the proposal expressed a lot of uncertainty about if and when the new plant will be built.

The twin cooling towers of the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant can be seen for miles around.

Talen Energy is proposing to build a separate adjacent plant, called Bell Bend, that would add another reactor to the area and two more towers to the skyline near Berwick.

Representatives from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were on the campus of Bloomsburg University Thursday to hold public meetings and get comments on the environmental impact the plant would have. Before the meetings there was an open house where people could look at displays about the proposal and speak with representatives from both Talen Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

"They range from impacts on aquatic life to air, soil, economics, demographics. There is a broad range of potential impacts," said Neil Sheehan, Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

But there are a lot of questions about whether the Bell Bend plant will ever be built.

A spokesperson for Talen says just because this meeting is being held, it doesn't mean this plant will actually be built. That will depend on factors including the demand for power and the economy.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Talen have halted the safety portion of the licensing process, pointing to problems with Areva, the French company that was contracted to design the plant.

"One of the determining factors will be the certification of the Areva design. We need to await that certification, as well as numerous other factors, to determine whether this is a viable project that could move forward," said Talen Energy official Todd Martin.

If the new reactor is built, it's more than $10 billion cost could provide an economic boost.

"I think they put up with two for this long, why not three? That is my lucky number," said Carol Whitenight of Berwick.


  • Paul Bedichek

    Nuclear power plants are safe and clean, but if it’s Areva I assume they want to build an EPR and the only ones of those built on time are in China so they should switch to the Westinghouse 1000 or wait until the NuCorp smr’s are available in 2022 or so.

  • sickof thebrutality

    Before “Talen” does anything as far as a possible additional reactor, they need to correct deficiencies from within the existing power plant. Procedures need to be enforced uniformly. Best place to start is their access processing group. This pack of misfits write and enforce their own rules one day to the next.

  • Ashley Dancho

    I live outside of Berwick. I would rather the hog farm than more of these things. People smell manure sometimes? Wait till something happens with these reactors. It’s going to make some manure smell seem like nothing. If people allow this they are very foolish. I keep prayng the ones they have now will be shut down and dismantled . We don’t need this here. I believe it’s only a matter if time before there is a huge tragedy with that place.

    • Jim Hopf

      Your comparison (nuclear plant vs. hog farm) is inappropriate. If a new plant isn’t built, or if the existing ones are shut down, the electricity will have to be produced another way. For the most part, most if not all of the power that the reactors would have produced will be produced by fossil fuels. There is near-universal scientific consensus that the public health risks and environmental impacts of fossil-fueled power generation are orders of magnitude higher than any associated with nuclear power.

  • Valfreyja

    Talen: Learn from the predatory behavior of Invenergy and treat the people of Berwick with the respect they deserve.

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