Washington, D.C. (February 15, 2012) – With the federal government believed to be days away from awarding 15 times more in federal loan guarantees to the controversial Vogtle reactors in Georgia than it did to the failed Solyndra enterprise, leading experts will warn that the Vogtle reactor project is already racking up major cost overruns, with additional slowdowns expected to continue plaguing the project.
During the same phone-based news event at 1:30 p.m. EST Thursday (February 16, 2012), twelve public interest groups will announce that they are filing action in federal court. They maintain that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is violating federal law by issuing the Vogtle license without considering important public safety and environmental implications in the wake of the catastrophic Fukushima accident in Japan. They will ask federal judges to order the NRC to prepare a new environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Vogtle reactors that explains how cooling systems for the reactors and spent fuel storage pools will be upgraded to protect against earthquakes, flooding and prolonged loss of electric power to the site.
News event speakers will be:
• Mindy Goldstein, acting director, Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory Law School;
• Jim Warren, executive director, NC WARN;
• Arjun Makhijani, president, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research;
• Lou Zeller, administrator, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League; and
• Charles Utley, spokesperson, Concerned Citizens of Shell Bluff. TO PARTICIPATE: You can participate in a related live, phone-based news conference (with full, two-way Q&A) at 1:30 p.m. EST on February 16, 2012 by dialing 1 (800) 860-2442. Ask for the “Vogtle cost overruns” news event. CAN’T PARTICIPATE?: A streaming audio replay of the news event is now available at http://www.hastingsgroupmedia.com/021612/VogtleCostOverrunsEvent.mp3
The organizations are filing the lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The 12 organizations taking the legal action are: the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Friends of the Earth, Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Center for a Sustainable Coast, Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, Concerned Citizens of Shell Bluff, Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions, Mothers Against Tennessee River Radiation, North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Nuclear Watch South.
Southern Co. has already commenced construction activities at the Vogtle reactor site, with cost overruns already documented in a manner that should give pause to U.S. taxpayers on the hook for Solyndra-style federal loan guarantees. The Vogtle license would allow Southern to commence construction of the containment, reactor cooling systems, spent fuel storage pools, and other major nuclear plant components. The organizations charge that these major structures could change substantially if they are redesigned to take the lessons of the Fukushima accident into account, and therefore continued construction of the new Vogtle reactors could be wasting money and resources. # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. www.cleanenergy.org