As surely as much-anticipated There Will Be Blood (Hi, Christine!), the story of one man’s despotic devotion to oil wealth over humanity, is finally hitting South Texas cinemas, the power utilities and the media outlets expect you do be equally resigned/excited/curdled with anxiety (?) over the coming of a new wave of nuclear power plants — which target southern states in particular.
The federal energy bill that pissed away the chance to set up required renewable energy standards for utilities went out of its way to do right by the nuke industry. Of course, what would the industry be without subsidies?
Non-existent is the simple answer.
Writes Matthew Cardinale in Atlanta Progressive News:
“There’s a whole suite of incentives being pumped out by the federal government to try and cajole the utilities back into the game,” Glenn Carroll of Nuclear Watch South told IPS.
The U.S. Congress last month passed 38.5 billion dollars in loan guarantees to the nuclear industry. “If they can’t pay back the loan, or don’t want to pay back the loan, the government will guarantee the banks up to 80 percent,” Carroll said.
While the Nuclear Regulatory Commission now has five applications to review, San Antonio’s CPS Energy ignobly broke the 30-year domestic application silence by co-filing for two new nukes with NRG Energy.
Two important hearings on nukes in Texas are rushing upon us:
First UEC’s permit to mine uranium within Goliad County’s groundwater table will be discussed at a hearing called by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on January 24.
APPLICATION. Uranium Energy Corp., 100 East Kleberg, Suite 210, Kingsville, Kleberg County, Texas 78363, has applied to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a new Class III Underground Injection Control Permit proposing to conduct in situ recovery of uranium at their facility. The facility is located 13.3 miles north on U.S. 183 from the City of Goliad to FM 1961, then two miles east to the site.
The TCEQ Executive Director has determined the application is administratively complete and is currently under technical review. After technical review of the application is complete, the Executive Director may prepare a draft permit and will issue a preliminary decision on the application.
The Public Meeting is to be held:
January 24, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
Immaculate Conception Parish Hall
225 N. Commercial Street
Goliad, Texas 77963
INFORMATION. Citizens are encouraged to submit written comments anytime during the meeting or by mail before the meeting to the Office of the Chief Clerk, TCEQ, Mail Code MC-105, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, TX 78711-3087. If you need more information, please call the TCEQ Office of Public Assistance, Toll Free, at 1-800-687-4040. Si desea información en Español, puede llamar 1-800-687-4040. General information about the TCEQ can be found at our web site at http://www.tceq.state.tx.us.
The permit application is available for viewing and copying at the Goliad County Courthouse, 127 N. Courthouse Square, Goliad, Texas 77963. Further information may also be obtained from Uranium Energy Corp, 100 East Kleberg, Suite 210, Kingsville, Kleberg County, Texas 78363, or by calling Mr. Josh Leftwich, at (361) 991-9720.
Two weeks later the NRC will hear from the public at two Tuesday public hearings way down in Bay City.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will hold public meetings Tuesday, Feb. 5, in Bay City, Texas, to discuss the agency’s review of a Combined License (COL) application for two new reactors at the South Texas Project site near Bay City, and the environmental issues the agency should consider in reviewing the application.
The meetings will be held from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. at the Bay City Civic Center, 201 7th St. in Bay City. The NRC will transcribe the meeting, including any follow-up answers the staff provides later, and post the transcript on the agency’s Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-licensing/col/south-texas-project.html. NRC staff will be available for informal discussions with members of the public during “open house” sessions from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. and 6 – 7 p.m. No formal comments on the environmental review will be accepted during these open houses.
NRG Energy and South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company submitted the COL application and associated information in a Sept. 20, 2007, letter. The companies seek approval to build and operate two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) at the site, approximately 12 miles southwest of Bay City. The ABWR is a 1,300 megawatt electric design the NRC certified in 1997, and is currently in use overseas. The application is posted on the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-licensing/col/south-texas-project.html. In addition, the application’s environmental report is available for public inspection at the Bay City Public Library at 1100 7th Street in Bay City.
Those wishing to register in advance to present their comments at the meeting should contact Cristina Guerrero by telephone at 800-368-5642 x2981, or via e-mail at STP_COL@nrc.gov (the address is STP_COL) by Jan. 29. Members of the public should request special equipment or accommodations for attending or presenting information by that date so the staff can consider the request. Those wishing to speak may also register at each meeting no later than by 1:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., respectively. Individual comments could be limited by the time available, depending on how many people wish to speak.
NRC staff will also consider written comments on the scoping process. Comments should be submitted no later than Feb. 18, either by mail to the Chief, Rules and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of Administration, Mailstop T-6D59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, via e-mail at STP_COL@nrc.gov, or hand-delivered to the NRC at 11545 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Md., between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. on federal workdays.
Europe has been debating reconnoitering with the nuclear genie lately, with the United Kingdom announcing recently they would move ahead with controversial plans for new nukes, while increasingly green Germany has pledged to phase out what they have and rely on conventional and renewable energy to provide for their future needs.
Should they arrive at a sustainable energy mix sans uranium (as many energy experts contend is easily possible) they could be the black sheep that swings us all back to truly sustainable solutions.
It’s not beyond us to turn the utilities back here in the U.S. and make that case ourselves. Worth remembering. Your attendance is required.