May 25, 1999 -- Feds Authorize Incidental Takes at Nuclear Power Station

NMFS Northeast Region

News

Feds Authorize Incidental Taking

of Seals at Nuclear Power Station

Power company will put bars on intake

structures to reduce seal deaths

Gloucester, Mass. -- NOAA Fisheries has authorized the North Atlantic Energy Services Corporation to lethally take a small number of seals during routine water cooling operations at its Seabrook Station nuclear power plant in Seabrook, N.H. After more than a year studying the situation and public comment, the agency has determined the energy company's incidental take of 24 non-endangered seals annually will not threaten the overall health of four seal stocks.

Lethal takes of primarily harbor seals are known to have occurred and are expected to continue to occur when the animals swim into the Seabrook Station cooling water intake structures and drown. Cooling water for the station is supplied by three intake structures located approximately one mile offshore in 60 feet of water.

North Atlantic Energy recently presented NOAA Fisheries with plans to put bars on all three intakes this summer in the hopes of reducing, and possibly eliminating, future takes. North Atlantic Energy will study the effectiveness of the barriers in reducing the number of seal takes and will assess any impacts on the station's cooling water flow. Results of the study will be presented to, and evaluated by, NOAA Fisheries.

For Immediate

Release

May 25, 1999

Contact:

Teri Frady

Chief of Research Communications

PH: (508) 495-2239

FAX: 508 495-2258

George Liles

PH: (508) 495-2378

FAX: 508 495-2258

NR99-09

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NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service * One Blackburn Drive * Gloucester, MA * 01930


NMFS Northeast Region

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Small Take Authorization

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The "small take authorization," which is published in today's Federal Register, came in response to North Atlantic Energy Services Corporation's 1997 application to take a small number of seals over a period of five years. The Marine Mammal Protection Act authorizes incidental takes provided NMFS determines that the taking will have a negligible impact on the affected stocks of seals. NOAA Fisheries took public comments and then published a proposed rule in August, 1998. After another period of public comment, NOAA Fisheries published today's final rule authorizing the take of up to 24 seals per year for the next five years.

A copy of North Atlantic's application, the final rule, and Environmental Assessment may be obtained by contacting Ken Hollingshead, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3225 or Scott Sandorf, NMFS Northeast Regional Office, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930-2298.

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NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service * One Blackburn Drive * Gloucester, MA * 01930

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