Opponents of nuclear plant expansion call for more study

Oct. 28, 2010

By Bob Cox
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Opponents of a plan to expand the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant told a panel of administrative judges Thursday that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission should take more time to address their objections to a study on environmental issues surrounding the proposed expansion of the facility.

The three-judge panel headed by Ann Marshall Young heard arguments from attorneys for groups opposing Dallas-based Luminant’s plan to add two new reactors at the Comanche Peak plant near Glen Rose, southwest of Fort Worth.

NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding said the panel will review the legal and technical merits of the objection raised to the draft environmental impact report prepared by the agency’s staff.

The preliminary ruling contained in the draft report found that there were no environmental issues that would preclude the NRC from issuing a license to Luminant to build and eventually operate the two new reactors.

Uselding said it could be two months or more before the judges rule on the validity of the objections raised by opponents of the project and whether to hold a full hearing on the issues.

Opponents of the Comanche Peak project argued that the NRC staff failed to address issues such as alternatives to building additional power plants and whether nuclear power is economically feasible.

Karen Hadden, executive director of the Austin-based Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, said it wasn’t clear that the objections would get a thorough hearing from the NRC.

"They seem more interested in creating hoops to jump over than getting real information" in the environmental impact report, Hadden said. "This kind of research upfront is what they’re supposed to do to protect the public."

Bob Cox, 817-390-7723

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