Photo: The Lost Ogle
Natural gas giant Chesapeake Energy has been given permission to drill for natural gas via hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” one mile away from the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, according to multiple reports.The plan was approved earlier this month and a permit was granted to Chesapeake on October 6, according to the blog Shale Reporter, based out of Pennsylvania.
Although the long-term effects of fracking have not been conclusively established, a representative for FirstEnergy Corporation — the Akron-based company which runs the Bear Valley plant — is not alarmed.
“We’re not aware of any potential impacts and don’t expect any,” Jennifer Young said Monday. “We see no reason to be particularly concerned.”
John Poister, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, told the Shale Reporter that “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.”
“Our regulations do not speak to off-site wells,” Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesperson Neil Sheehan added. “Our focus is on on-site activities.”
While some remain concerned about the effect of possible earthquakes related to fracking, Richard Hammack, a scientist at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, believes that the two are unrelated; most seismic issues are linked to injection wells rather than fracking.