Comanche Peak Nuclear Reactor Issues Argued

April 15, 2010
For Immediate Release

Karen Hadden, SEED Coalition, 512-797-8481

Opponents of the two new nuclear reactors proposed for Comanche Peak in Glen Rose, Texas presented oral arguments today before the three Atomic Safety and Licensing Panel judges. Attorney Robert V. Eye represented SEED Coalition, Public Citizen, True Cost of Nukes and Representative Lon Burnam in the case. The groups have many concerns with nuclear reactors, including safety and security risks, vast water consumption and the unsolved problem of radioactive waste.

The issues discussed today include:

  • Impacts from a severe radiological accident at any one unit or other units at the Comanche Peak site have not been considered in the Environmental Report of the license application, but should be.
  • Luminant’s Environmental Report fails to consider alternatives to more nuclear reactors, such as combinations of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, with energy storage and natural gas to create baseload power.

"Despite limitations on what was allowed to be presented about clean and safe energy alternatives to more reactors, we were able to make a strong case. Hopefully the panel of judges will listen," said State Representative Lon Burnam, District 90 – Ft. Worth. "Nuclear power is an outdated and dangerous way to generate electricity. Safer and more affordable options exist and are in use today." Burnam is an intervenor in the case.

"Luminant refuses to look at the impacts of severe accidents. Their probability argument is dishonest. They paint the risk from accidents as low, since they don’t happen every day. However, all it takes is one serious accident such as a meltdown or terrorist attack on a spent fuel pool to result in catastrophe, "said Eliza Brown, Clean Energy Advocate for the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition. "Accident impacts would be huge. Deaths and cancers would result from radiation releases, as well as birth defects from genetic damage. Luminant refuses to acknowledge these catastrophic risks."

The NRC and Luminant attorneys have tried to get the contentions raised by intervenors dismissed. The panel of judges have yet to decide whether these important safety issues are given a full hearing.

Luminant’s attorneys made the argument that no project exists that combines solar, wind and energy storage together. At the same time, the utility is partnering with Shell in developing energy storage. There is no technological barrier that prevents the combination of wind, solar, energy storage and natural gas. Experts report that these resources can be combined to provide baseload power.

"At the same time that Luminant attorneys say that wind, solar and energy storage can’t be used for baseload power because it hasn’t been done yet, they want to build two nuclear reactors using a design that has never been built anywhere in the world. How’s that for hypocrisy?" said Karen Hadden, Executive Director of SEED Coalition.