Bad Decision on Foreign Ownership Case Against South Texas Project Nuclear Reactors Protects Toshiba, Not Citizens

April 15, 2014

Press Release

Contacts: Karen Hadden, SEED Coalition, 512-797-8481
Brett Jarmer and Robert V. Eye, Attorneys, 785-234-4040

NRC Staff Agreed with License Opponents on this Legal Contention

Austin, Texas The Nuclear Regulatory Commission"s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board has ruled that even though Japanese owned Toshiba is funding 100% of pre-license activities for two proposed South Texas Project reactors, the license applicant (Nuclear Innovation North America or NINA) is not subject to foreign control or domination prohibitions of the Atomic Energy Act.

"The judges" decision turns the federal law that prohibits foreign control and domination of nuclear projects on its head. The only source of money for this project is from a Japanese corporation. That is the essence of control and domination," said Karen Hadden, executive director of SEED Coalition, a group that has led intervention in the licensing process, along with South Texas Association for Responsible Energy and Public Citizen. "NRC staff agrees with us that the extensive financial involvement of Toshiba violates existing foreign control laws. Maybe foreign corporate investments now count more than the law."

"Federal law is clear that foreign controlled corporations are not eligible to apply for a license to build and operate nuclear power plants. The evidence showed that Toshiba is in financial control of the project and this should preclude obtaining an NRC license for South Texas Project 3 & 4," said Brett Jarmer, an attorney also representing the intervenors.

"Foreign investment in U.S nuclear projects is not per se prohibited; but Toshiba is paying all the bills for the STP 3 & 4 project. This has made it difficult to accept that Toshiba doesn"t control the project," said Robert Eye, an attorney for the intervenors.

Susan Dancer, President of the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy said "NINA wants us to believe that receiving 100% funding for pre-license activities does not make them subject to Toshiba"s control. The recent Fukushima disaster has demonstrated the flawed Japanese model of nuclear safety and lack of protection afforded the Japanese people. In such an inherently dangerous industry, the American people deserve protection through enforcement of existing federal law, including that our nuclear reactors are controlled by the people most concerned about our country: fellow Americans."

"Business interests are being favored despite the fact that existing law couldn"t be more clear. The Atomic Energy Act says that no license may be issued… (if) it is owned, controlled, or dominated by an alien, a foreign corporation, or a foreign government," said Tom "Smitty" Smith, director of Public Citizen"s Texas Office. The problem that STP 3 & 4 have is that U.S. investors are not interested in putting money into nuclear power projects. NINA sought foreign money because U.S. investors recognize the future is in renewable fuels like wind and solar not dangerous and toxic nuclear power."

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Read the Partial Initial Decision