AUSTIN, TX The NRC posted notice today on the federal register of the application ofLuminant to build two reactors at the Comanche Peak nuclear plant site, southwest of FortWorth. Citizens now have only 60 days to prepare and present their legal case in opposition.
The reactor design (US-APWR) has not been approved by the NRC and it has never been builtanywhere in the world. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. submitted the US-AdvancedPressurized Water Reactor (US-APWR) for design certification on December 31, 2007, but thereview will take the NRC at least until 2011 to complete.
"This fast-tracked combined construction and operating license process was rationalized basedon the assumption that new reactors would only use pre-certified designs, but the ComanchePeak reactor design is not approved yet. Not only does this put a huge burden on the public toquickly learn what’s happening and become involved within only 60 days, but it also putspressure on the NRC to rubberstamp designs that should have extra scrutiny," said Smith.
"The streamlined process is designed to cut citizens out and limit public involvement in thelicensing of two reactors that could cost $22 billion before cost overruns," said Karen Hadden,executive director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition. "Itmakes the fast-tracking of TXU’s coal plants in Texas look slow."
Comanche Peak Unit One ran ten times over budget and was years late coming online. Anuntested reactor design increases the likelihood of similar problems occurring again and soaringrate hikes that would result.
"If safety was a real concern, the three processes all occurring simultaneously would be takenone at a time. This rush increases risks of safety oversight and problems from faulty design andconstruction" said Hadden. "Reactor designs should be analyzed first, and if and when the NRCdeems them adequate, a construction license application should be allowed. If the plant has nomajor construction flaws after completion, then the operating license should be decided."
This federal notice posting comes as Congress debates whether to give more subsidies to thenuclear industry in the stimulus bill. The US Senate included in its economic stimulus package ahandout of $50 billion to the nuclear industry, subsidies in the form of federal loan guarantees.
The House did not include these handouts which would "bail in" a fifty year old industry thatstill can’t stand on its own, remaining dependent on federal subsidies because investors are waryof the huge liability and risks.
The Nuclear Information and Resource Service has organized nationwide and in five daysgenerated more than 5,600 letters to the Senate and hundreds of phone calls; hand-delivered tothe Senate a letter signed by 243 grassroots organizations, small businesses and musiciansincluding Bonnie Raitt, Graham Nash and Paul Winter.
The NRC Federal Register notice provides information regarding the public's opportunity torequest participation in the hearing regarding the Comanche Peak COL. The deadline for filing arequest to participate is April 6.
Citizens must develop their contentions during this extremely short time period, even thoughmajor factors could change, including the design of the reactors.
The federal register posting can easily be found online at