‘Outrageous, Reckless’ Decision to Keep Nuclear Reactors Running in Houston

Two nuclear reactors at the South Texas Project near Bay City, Texas should be shut down immediately in order to protect public safety in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, three watchdog groups warned today. With additional rainfall and increased flooding risks anticipated, the groups are calling on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Governor of Texas, Electric Reliability Council of Texas and utility owners of the nuclear reactors to take action immediately.

 
KAREN HADDEN, karen at seedcoalition.org
Hadden is director of the Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition, based in Texas. The watchdog groups pointed out that the Fukushima disaster showed the world that an energy asset can turn into a multi-billion dollar liability overnight. She said today: “We should do all we can to prevent such a mistake. … Flood waters reaching the nuclear reactors could make operation increasingly dangerous and the rains are expected to continue. There is plenty of reserve capacity on our electric grid, so we don’t have to run the reactors in order to keep the lights on. With anticipated flooding of the Colorado River, the nuclear reactors should be shut down now to ensure safety.”
 
SUSAN DANCER, [lives in Bay City] texasblessings at yahoo.com
Dancer is president of the South Texas Association for Responsible Energy. She said today: “A county-wide emergency evacuation notice was issued last week for all residents to be out ahead of Harvey’s landfall. In an even more aggressive move last night, the Bay City Mayor and Matagorda County Judge issued mandatory evacuation orders effective immediately as Bay City is expected to be ten feet under water in a flood of a scale we’d never even imagined, much less experienced. I loaded up my animals and fled my Bay City home, not even taking time to take any possessions with me. As we tried to flee, water was already flowing across many roads. Our 911 system is down, as are our police and fire department’s phone and dispatch systems. No emergency services are available. All businesses are shuttered and most are taking on water. Refineries have shut down.
“It’s an outrageous and reckless decision that the nuclear reactors are still running. Why aren’t they in cold shutdown with only a skeleton crew? Where is the concern for employees and their families? Why is corporate profit being prioritized over caution and good judgment?”
 

PAUL GUNTER, [in D.C. area] paul at beyondnuclear.org@BeyondNuclearGunter is director of the Reactor Oversight Project at the group Beyond Nuclear. He said today: “Both the NRC and the operator have previously recognized a credible threat of a severe accident initiated by a breach of the embankment wall that surrounds the 7,000-acre reactor cooling water reservoir. … However remote, it’s simply prudent that the operator put this reactor into its safest condition, cold shutdown.”

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