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Permit given for fracking near nuclear plant via Herald Standard.com

Chesapeake Energy has a permit to frack just one mile from the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport. Whether that is cause for alarm, experts can’t say.

But one thing is for sure — in the midst of the Marcellus boom, drilling companies are going to keep fracking, pockmarking the earth with their mile-deep wells, blasting away at the subterranean feature that is the Marcellus shale.

 As the fracking continues, does anyone, driller or geologist, know what really lies beneath the surface? Does the improbability of seismic activity as a result of fracking become more likely as more wells are drilled?

The new permit granted to Chesapeake is located 1.06 miles from FirstEnergy Corp. nuclear facility in Shippingport. According to DEP records, the permit for an unconventional well was issued to Chesapeake on Oct. 3. Drilling has not yet started.

DEP spokesperson John Poister said there are no required setbacks specifically relating to a required distance between unconventional wells and nuclear facilities, just a blanket regulation requiring a 500-foot setback from any building to an unconventional well.

With more than a mile setback distance, the newly permitted well would be well within the state’s regulations. But Poister did say he is not aware of any other nuclear power station located in an area where shale drilling is occurring.

According to Dave Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, the NRC issued a Regulatory Guide in 1979 to help the industry review potential nuclear sites. But this code didn’t allow for changes in sites that might occur over time — such as the Marcellus shale and resulting fracking boom in Pennsylvania.

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