A precursor to Austin's upcoming nuke debate

By Kate Alexander
Austin American Statesman

Friday, October 26, 2007

Austin City Council Member Jennifer Kim, flanked by a group of environmental leaders, called on San Antonio's municipal electric utility to slow down its decision to join in the expansion of the South Texas nuclear project. Austin is a minority partner in the project.

The board of CPS Energy is scheduled to vote Monday on whether to pursue more nuclear energy. In September, CPS Energy and NRG Energy Inc. filed the first application in decades to build nuclear reactors at the South Texas location.

"We are urging CPS to slow down," Karen Hadden, director of the SEED Coalition, said at a news conference Friday. "In Austin, we're going to take our time."

Austin will be having this same conversation eventually. As a partner in the nuke, Austin has right of first refusal to the power generated by the new reactors.

Austin also has a tortured history when it comes to nuclear power and a vocal community opposition.

"A decision of this magnitude should not be rushed," Hadden said.

Kim recommended that CPS join with Austin Energy and other major public power producers, including the Lower Colorado River Authority, to find alternatives to nuclear power.

"Austin can't do it alone", Kim said. "We could do a lot more with the resources of San Antonio and LCRA."

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