Ten billion or $22 billion? What does it matter how much it costs to build two new nuclear power plants in Matagorda County if a hijacked airliner comes crashing down into the equation?
Better yet, where do the billions go if South Texas Project’s best can’t pull enough water from the Guadalupe River to cool their reactors?
And just why hasn’t anyone plugged the leak on the bottom of the existing nuclear power complex’s 7,000-acre cooling reservoir?
These are the sorts of questions anti-nuclear activists will be asking of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission when it convenes for two days of open meetings in Bay City next week.
A similar summer gathering was hosted by the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board concerning the proposed expansion of the Comanche Peak nuke plant recently up in North Texas, but activists see the application by San Antonio-owned CPS Energy and partner NRG Energy as even more vulnerable to critique.
“This application is much more incomplete,” Karen Hadden of the SEED Coalition said, adding that opponents have objected to the STP license on 28 points compared to the 18 raised over Comanche Peak.
As San Antonio entered State Two drought restrictions and Valley growers are witnessing a sun-savaged year of crop losses from extended drought, it would make sense to explore the consumption of water resources (and pollution thereof) the proposed plants represent.
Lauren Ross of Glenn Rose Engineering attempted to do that, but found many of her questions unaddressed in the license application.
“We can see over the … time the plant has been operating that those tritium ground water levels are increasing,” Ross said, “but their permit application makes no effort to estimate what the consequences are of doubling the production capacity. Clearly we would expect those tritium levels would increase.”
The existing plants have already contributed to elevated tritium levels in area water, Ross said.
Just as the application is silent on expected increases in radioactivity released to ground and surface water, it is also “absolutely silent on the saltiness of the water that would be discharged from their cooling reservoir,” she added.
In fact, operators at STP “haven’t discharged any water from the main cooling reservoir since the 1990s,” Ross said.
That’s because it’s leaking out of the bottom of the reservoir, apparently outside the legal purview of state regulators.
From the report:
South Texas political blogs
Jon's Jail Journal
B and B
Dig Deeper Texas
The Walker Report
Grits for Breakfast
San Antonio Politics (Express-News)
Off the Kuff
South Texas Chisme
Rhetoric & Rhythm
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