October 21, 2010
Oral Argument Oct. 28th In Granbury, Texas
Contacts: Karen Hadden, SEED Coalition, 512-797-8481
David Power, Public Citizen, Energy Expert 830-660-7557
Robert V. Eye, Attorney, 785-234-4040
Granbury, Texas Opponents of two proposed Comanche nuclear reactors will present their case at an Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) panel on Oct. 28th. The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in the Hood County Justice Center, 1200 West Pearl St. in Granbury.
Attorney Bob Eye will represent SEED Coalition, Public Citizen and the Ft. Worth based True Cost of Nukes organization. Among the concerns that will be raised in the Combined License (COL) proceeding is the failure of Luminant to analyze cleaner, cheaper and safer energy alternatives in their license application, a glaring omission considering that Luminant and Shell are exploring compressed air energy storage. "Today Texas has excess energy capacity and leads the nation in wind generation. Solar costs are plummeting. Energy storage and cheap gas can be used to back up renewable solar and wind power. The proposed reactors are a hazard to our health, safety and our pocketbooks," said energy expert David Power, who submitted a report regarding DEIS contentions.
Six new contentions based on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) were filed in September. They include concerns that the DEIS analysis of the need for power is flawed, that the carbon emissions analysis is distorted, that global warming impacts are understated, that reactor cooling ability could be impacted by higher water temperatures, and that wind and solar were not adequately considered as alternatives to nuclear power.
"Radioactive waste, safety and security issues, economics and the vast consumption of water are all reasons to avoid more nuclear reactors," said Karen Hadden, Executive Director of SEED Coalition. "The water level at Lake Granbury would drop which is of great concern to many local citizens."
"Nuclear power is the most expensive way to generate electricity. The proposed Comanche Peak reactors could reach $22 billion or more, roughly equal to the budget shortfall for the entire state of Texas. This is before cost overruns from delays and construction problems and the added costs of radioactive waste disposal and decommissioning. Nuclear reactors don’t make sense financially," said Karen Hadden, Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition.
"Constellation Energy just withdrew their license application for a Maryland nuclear reactor due to high costs. Ruminant’s parent company, Energy Future Holdings, has been struggling financially, and shouldn’t even consider taking on extensive additional debt, which is sure to result in skyrocketing electric bills and could result in the collapse of the company," said Hadden.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) 2009 State of the Market report says "Estimated net revenues for nuclear and coal resources were also insufficient to support new entry in 2009."
The Associated Press recently reported, "Even companies that are finalists for federal loan guarantees, NRG Energy and Constellation Energy, announced recently that they have nearly stopped spending on their projects… Analysts say low natural gas prices are making the project uneconomic. NRG chief executive David Crane said he will not pursue the company’s two-reactor project in South Texas if gas prices stay low, even if his project is offered a loan guarantee."
The ASLB is the independent body within the NRC that presides over proceedings involving the licensing of civilian nuclear facilities, such as nuclear power plants.
The Oct. 28th oral hearing is open for public observation, but participation will be limited to the parties admitted to the proceeding – NRC staff, the public interest groups, and Luminant, the applicant.