Asheville, N.C. (September 12, 2008) – Today, citizens’ groups announced that they are calling on Nuclear Regulatory Commission judges to suspend Tennessee Valley Authority’s request to build and operate four nuclear reactors at Bellefonte. The groups’ latest legal challenge describes the failure of TVA to include two partially completed nuclear reactors in its license application for two new reactors at its Bellefonte site near Scottsboro, Alabama. The petitioners are the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, the Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
The 13-page brief filed by the groups states that TVA’s license application “does not contain any discussion of environmental impact or options regarding Bellefonte Units 1 and 2; therefore, it is fatally deficient.” The groups say TVA is segmenting its proposal and omitting the cumulative impacts, both of which are prohibited by law. Segmentation occurs when analysis is done after decisions are made and the project is underway. Cumulative actions are those which have significantly greater impacts caused by successive additions. For example, these cumulative effects include water usage, radiation releases and accident impacts. The National Environmental Policy Act requires a side-by-side presentation of all options to decision makers and the public.
Referring to TVA’s request to reinstate the older plants’ permits, the League’s legal representative, Louis Zeller, said, “TVA cannot be allowed to circumvent the law. Their stop-start approach to nuclear power is no excuse.” Zeller referred to TVA’s August request to reinstate construction permits for Bellefonte Units 1 and 2.
Opponents of nuclear power also expressed concerns about TVA’s financial stability. Speaking for Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team, Louise Gorenflo said, “Management is leading TVA down the road to bankruptcy. The agency is behaving like a drunken sailor, squandering our money on one unneeded nuclear project after the next.” She added, “We will do what we can to represent the interests of the families and ratepayers who can barely afford what TVA charges now.”
In the 1970’s TVA had planned to build two reactors, called Bellefonte 1 and 2, but abandoned the plan after spending about $4 billion. Earlier this year, TVA requested a license to build two new reactors, designated 3 and 4, at the Bellefonte site in Alabama. The League, BEST and SACE intervened on June 6th and the NRC held a hearing in Scottsboro on July 30th. On August 26th, TVA asked the NRC to re-instate the permits for Bellefonte 1 and 2. The citizens groups’ latest opposition was lodged with the NRC in the form of a legal brief on September 11, 2008. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization thatpromotes responsible energy choices that create global warmingsolutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughoutthe Southeast.