Citizens Oppose Comanche Peak Expansion before Atomic Safety and Licensing Board

stop nukeOral Hearing Set for June 10th-11th in Granbury, TX

Citizen opposition to more nuclear reactors in Texas continues. On June 10th-11th an oral hearing will be held before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board on Citizens’ petition to intervene in Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant Units 3 and 4.

“I have many grave concerns about building more nuclear reactors in Texas,” said Texas Representative Lon Burnam, District 90, Ft. Worth, one of the petitioners seeking to intervene in the proposed expansion of Comanche Peak. “The risks are simply too high. As the most expensive and most water intensive energy source, and with the unsolved problem of how to handle the radioactive waste, Texans deserve better.”

SEED Coalition, Public Citizen and the Ft. Worth-based True Cost of Nukes are also petitioners. Attorney, Robert V. Eye, will go before the designated Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel and argue the admissibility of the 19 contentions citizens filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on April 6th. These contentions point out the inadequacies and the incompleteness of Luminant’s combined operating license application (COLA) to construct and operate Comanche Peak Units 3 and 4.

“Luminant has failed to comply with new federal regulations regarding aircraft impacts,” stated Mr. Eye. “These new regulations are very specific and require the applicant to plan for catastrophic fires and/or explosions that would cause the loss of major critical functional components in the plant. After 9-11, an aircraft attack on a nuclear power plant is a real and credible threat. Moreover, fire hazards represent about half of the risk of a nuclear reactor meltdown. Luminant’s noncompliance with these regulations puts citizens around Comanche Peak in a dangerous position, which is completely unacceptable.”

“Nuclear power is dangerous, expensive and obsolete,” says Karen Hadden, Executive Director of Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition. “Wind energy is booming and the cost of solar is coming down, while the costs of proposed nuclear plants is skyrocketing. Although they’re required to do so, Luminant failed to fully consider safer, more affordable alternatives to nuclear in their license application.”

“Luminant could and should consider other reliable and affordable forms of energy generation, especially geothermal power,” said Don L. Young, with True Cost of Nukes.

“What are they going to do with the waste?” asks J. Nile Fischer with True Cost of Nukes. “Luminant’s application assumes that there will be high-level radioactive waste/spent fuel disposal capacity at a federal site. Yet the United States Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, has stated that Yucca Mountain is no longer an option as a repository. It defies logic to continue to generate more radioactive waste without first solving the problem of where to put it.”

“The two proposed reactors would each use over 30,000 gallons of water per minute, an outrageous waste of water at a time Texas is experiencing state-wide drought,” said Nita O’Neal with True Cost of Nukes. The reactors would require nearly104,000 acre-feet/ year of water, and about 2/3 of which would evaporate. Various chemicals are added to the water including biocides and chemicals for pH adjustment and sediment control.

A memorandum released on May 27th outlines the logistics of how the oral hearing will proceed.

The oral hearing begins Wednesday, June 10th at 9 AM in the Jury Selection Room of the Hood County Justice Center, 1200 West Pearl St., Granbury, TX