TEXAS ISSUES

» Advancing Energy Efficiency in Texas

» Advancing Renewable Energy in Texas

» Climate Change

» Fighting Dirty Energy

» Promoting Clean Government

» Student Organizing in Texas

Follow us on Twitter


Twitter Updates


     

    TEXAS VOX BLOG

    Activism from the Lone Star state
    Energy, Environment, and Ethics
    with a Texas Twang

    Public Citizen Texas is a 

     

     
    For more information about workplace giving through EarthShare of Texas, click here.

    Additional Resources

    About Public Citizen Texas
    Press Releases
    Publications
    Join our Facebook page

    TexasVox: The Voice of Public Citizen in Texas » Nuclear
    San Onofre Nuclear Plant Closing: A harbinger of things to come for the U.S.’s aging nuclear fleet?

    Earlier today, Southern California Edison (SCE) announced that they will retire Units 2 and 3 of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), essentially closing the troubled nuclear power plant which is located between San Diego and Los Angeles. SONGS, which has been in operation for 45 years, may be a harbinger for the future […]


    The post San Onofre Nuclear Plant Closing: A harbinger of things to come for the U.S.’s aging nuclear fleet? appeared first on TexasVox: The Voice of Public Citizen in Texas.



    Friday, June 07, 2013 3:01:41 PM

    Foreign Ownership Could Halt Licensing of South Texas Project Nuclear Reactors

    NRC Says NINA Doesn’t Meet Their Requirements On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told judges overseeing the licensing case for two proposed South Texas Project reactors that the applicant (NINA) is subject to foreign ownership control or domination requirements and does not meet the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act in this regard. This will […]


    The post Foreign Ownership Could Halt Licensing of South Texas Project Nuclear Reactors appeared first on TexasVox: The Voice of Public Citizen in Texas.



    Thursday, May 02, 2013 12:00:58 AM

    NRC MAINTAINS HEIGHTENED WATCH OVER NUCLEAR PLANTS IMPACTED BY SANDY; THREE SHUTDOWNS AND OYSTER CREEK PLANT IN ALERT

    Update:  The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said an alert at the Oyster Creek plant in Forked River, N.J., ended early Wednesday, October 31. According to an NRC press release, three reactors (Nine Mile Point 1 in Scriba, N.Y., Indian Point 3 in Buchanan, N.Y.; and Salem Unit 1 in Hancocks Bridge, N.J.) experienced shutdowns as […]


    The post NRC MAINTAINS HEIGHTENED WATCH OVER NUCLEAR PLANTS IMPACTED BY SANDY; THREE SHUTDOWNS AND OYSTER CREEK PLANT IN ALERT appeared first on TexasVox: The Voice of Public Citizen in Texas.



    Tuesday, October 30, 2012 12:12:03 PM

    Three Mile Island – Deja vu

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has reported that a reactor at Three Mile Island, the site of the nation’s worst nuclear accident, shut down unexpectedly on this afternoon when a coolant pump tripped and steam was released.  Right now they are saying the plant is stable with no impact on public health or safety. Still, this is […]


    The post Three Mile Island – Deja vu appeared first on TexasVox: The Voice of Public Citizen in Texas.



    Thursday, September 20, 2012 6:55:34 PM

    NRC Whistleblower Claims Threat To Nuclear Plants Covered Up By Regulators

    According to the Huffington Post, not one, but two, whistleblower engineers at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have accused regulators of deliberately covering up information relating to the vulnerability of U.S. nuclear power facilities that sit downstream from large dams and reservoirs and failing to act to despite being aware of the risks for years. One […]


    The post NRC Whistleblower Claims Threat To Nuclear Plants Covered Up By Regulators appeared first on TexasVox: The Voice of Public Citizen in Texas.



    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 6:00:18 PM

    South Texas Nuclear Project-The Record

    Units 1 & 2
    NRC Image of South Texas Project, Units 1 & 2.

    The controversial nuclear power plant was delivered more than five times over the construction budget and seven years behind schedule.

    STNP began construction in 1976, with a promised completion in 1981. Instead, Unit 1 construction was finished seven years late in 1988, and Unit 2 in 1989. The initial cost estimate made in Dec. 1973 was $964 million-but actual costs ballooned more than five-fold to $5.5 billion.

    History of a Troubled Project

    Dec. 6, 1971 Houston Lighting & Power Co. (HL&P), the City of Austin, the City of San Antonio, and the Central Power and Light Co. (CPL) initiate feasibility study of constructing a jointly-owned nuclear plant.

    1972 A construction company, Brown and Root (Halliburton), lobbies HL&P to win the STNP contract. B&R states in a letter to the utility that the project can be completed for $424 million and offers a $1 million "inducement" check to HL&P.

    Sep. 9, 1972 Austin voters decline $289 in bonds for STNP participation.

    May 15, 1973 Austin Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Love says the city's failure to approve nukebonds is "tragic."

    Jun. 6, 1973 HL&P and CPL announce their plans to build the South Texas Project nuclear plant in Matagorda County on the Texas coast. The initial official cost estimate for the plant: $964 million.

    Jun. 28, 1973 The San Antonio City Public Service (CPS) Board signs a participation agreement to become an owner of STP.

    Aug. 6, 1973 Brown & Root named project engineer and constructor.

    Sep. 5, 1973 Austin Chamber of Commerce urges STNP participation, saying this is the only way to meet projected demands for electricity in 1982.

    Nov. 18, 1973 Austin voters narrowly approve participation in STNP.

    Dec. 1, 1973 Austin signs nuke contract with HL&P.

    May 19, 1974 Application for plant construction permit submitted to the Atomic Energy Commission, predecessor agency to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

    Dec. 22, 1975 NRC issues construction permits for Unit 1 and 2. HL&P is to be managing utility partner for construction and operation.

    Sep. 24, 1981 Project completion is forecast for June 1989-four years behind schedule. More cost overruns are announced, with final costs estimated at $4.4 to 4.8 billion, more than four times initial estimates. Brown and Root gets fired as architect. Bechtel Energy Corp. is hired as project's new architect/engineer. Brown & Root remains on as project builder.

    Dec. 26, 1981 Owners commence breach of contract lawsuit against Brown & Root, which then withdraws as the project's construction contractor.

    Nov. 3, 1981 Austin voters authorize sale of the city's 16 percent interest in the STP. No buyers are found.

    Feb. 15, 1982 Ebasco Constructors hired to replace B&R as construction contractor.

    Jan. 6, 1983 City of Austin sues HL&P for alleged mismanagement of construction.

    May 30, 1985 A settlement of the Brown & Root lawsuit with project partners is announced. B&R agrees to pay STNP's owners $750 million.

    Jul. 2, 1986 Audit by Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) finds that $1.1 to $1.3 billion of $5.5 billion construction costs were due to "imprudent mismanagement." PUC says these figures are over and above the $750 million provided by B&R in settlement.

    1987 A Washington, DC watchdog group, the Government Accountability Project (GAP), receives complaints of safety related defects in construction and engineering from three dozen former and current project employees. Alleged crimes committed include: harassment and illegal firing of employees who lodged safety complaints; theft of materials; subcontractor price-fixing schemes; and falsification of quality assurance/quality control reports.

    Aug. 12, 1987 Additional overruns of $100 million announced, bringing total project pricetag to $5.5 billion. San Antonio Mayor Cisneros vows to sue HL&P if further overruns occur.

    Sep. 1987 Austin reaches tentative agreement to give HL&P its share of STNP in exchange for 400 megawatts of replacement power. Austin's City Council refuses to hold hearings on GAP allegations to keep the negotiations alive. The deal ultimately comes apart when other partners refuse to share any costs of settlement with HL&P.

    Oct. 16, 1987 PUC conducts hearings on STNP. The agency says a finding on whether or not it is economical to finish Unit 2 will be delivered in 1988-three years after PUC first ordered the study. Contrary to Mayor Cisneros' professed dissatisfaction, the San Antonio Express News reports that CPS told the PUC that it is "satisfied with STP progress."

    Nov. 8, 1987 San Antonio Express News says fifty-seven plant employees are alleging widespread and serious safety hazards in a 'whistleblower' complaint to the NRC. HL&P admits to the federal agency that two of their workers falsified inspection reports.

    Mar. 8, 1988 Unit 1 goes critical; enters commercial operation on Aug. 25.

    Mar. 18, 1988 NRC fines HL&P $75,000 for safety violations.

    Feb. 17, 1988 The Austin Light newspaper reports, "There are currently more than 650 allegations concerning safety, costs and criminal activities brought by people who have worked on the project." NRC Region IV becomes a target for a US Senate committee investigation for allegedly "corrupt" oversight of construction practices at STNP and Comanche Peak, another B&R project. Sen. John Glenn says the agency is "more lapdog than watchdog."

    Jan. 1989 Fire causes a leak and loss of cooling, causing reactor scram.

    Mar. 12, 1989 Unit 2 reached initial criticality; goes into commercial operation Jun. 19.

    Jul. 15, 1989 State court in Dallas unanimously rules HL&P doesn't owe Austin any damages for construction project mismanagement.

    Mar. 1991 Cracked fuel injector nozzles are found and have to be replaced.

    Dec. 1991 Valve fails to open, a causing rapid decrease in reactor pressure and forcing a scram.

    Dec. 1992 STNP management claims records for electric generation by a Westinghouse reactor in a single fuel cycle (Unit 1) and for a US reactor in a calendar year (Unit 2). However, in late December, a series of pump malfunctions begins in both units.

    Feb 1993 Both units are taken offline to resolve problems with steam-driven auxiliary feedwater pumps. They will not return to service until March (Unit 1) and May (Unit 2) of 1994. NRC fines HL&P $500,000 for safety violation and places STNP on a "watch list" of facilities with serious safety-related issues.

    Feb. 16, 1994 NRC chair Ivan Selin tours STNP and declares plant "as well designed and as good a physical facility as there is in the United States."

    Feb. 22, 1994 City of Austin sues HL&P for $120 million in damages resulting from the shutdown, including $51 million in higher electricity costs for utility customers.

    Dec. 31, 1995 STNP management claims national and global records for electric generation due to improving operations.

    May 1, 1996 HL&P and the City of Austin reach an out-of-court settlement. Austin agrees to drop all litigation against HL&P; both parties agree to form a separate operating company to run STP.

    Dec. 1996 Control rods for Unit 1 fail to insert properly into reactor core.

    Jul. 1999 Emergency diesel generator is inoperable for three days.

    Dec. 2002 Four massive steam generators are replaced in Unit 2.

    2003 Unit 1 shut down after inspection during refueling reveals coolant leaks.

    Feb. 9, 2005 Unit 2 shut down due to cooling system leaks.

    Jun. 19, 2006 NRG Energy files a Letter Of Intent with the NRC to build two 1358-Mwe Advanced Boiling Water Reactors at the South Texas Project site.

    Sep. 24, 2007 NRG filed a full application with the NRC to build two GE ABWRs at the STNP site. This is the first full application for a new reactor to the NRC since 1979. The proposed expansion would generate an additional 2,700 MW of electrical generating capacity, doubling the size of the existing STNP complex.

    Dec. 11, 2007 San Antonio Express News says, "Planning for an addition to the South Texas Project nuclear plant is costing CPS Energy $206 million." The newspaper reports CPS contributed half of $80 million for the NRC application.

    For more links to fighting nuclear power in Texas, click here.

    Copyright © 2014 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


    Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

     

    Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

    Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

    You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

     

    To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
    To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.