The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Mariotte, NIRS, 301-270-6477

Intervenors Submit New Challenge to Calvert Cliffs-3 in NRC Licensing Hearing

Groups charge NRC documents undercut unistar assertions on cost of electricity from proposed reactor; also fail to show need for power or adequate consideration of alternatives


Groups participating in the federal licensing
process of the proposed
Calvert Cliffs-3 nuclear reactor on the Chesapeake Bay
filed a new contention late Friday, June 25, 2010.

The contention charges that the NRC's Draft
Environmental Impact
Statement (DEIS) undercuts assertions filed in the license application
by the
proposed reactor's owner, UniStar Nuclear, that electricity from Calvert
Cliffs-3 would be produced for 3.1 to 4.6 cents per kilowatt/hour.
According to
UniStar's license application, that cost number was derived from a 2004
study that put the construction cost of a reactor at $1200-1800 per

But the DEIS-using more recent estimates
supplied by UniStar-put
the estimated construction cost 300-500% higher, at $7200-9600 per

"UniStar has attempted to mislead the NRC-and
public-about the costs of Calvert Cliffs-3 both in absolute terms and in
comparison to other possible sources of electricity," charged Michael
Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear
Information and Resource Service, one of four organizations
participating in
the NRC licensing hearings.

"UniStar uses these grossly underestimated cost
projections eight
separate times in its application when comparing projected costs of
from Calvert Cliffs-3 to alternatives like wind and solar power,"
explained Mariotte. "Even if it thought those numbers were correct when
they first submitted their application in 2007, they are now on their
revision of the application and they've never updated those numbers.
That's probably because they know no one in Maryland would support the
reactor if they
were aware how much electricity from it would cost."

The groups also pointed out that the DEIS-as
well as
UniStar's license application-completely ignores the potential
contribution of offshore wind power to the region's electrical system,
even though a company called Bluewater Wind has proposed building a 600
Megawatt wind farm off the Maryland coast, as well as large wind farms
off the
New Jersey and Delaware coasts.

The groups further charged that the DEIS failed
to even attempt to
quantify the possible contribution of solar photovoltaic power in the
and that the DEIS failed to account for the decline in electrical demand
in the
region over the past three years and the impact of energy efficiency
overstating future need for electricity.

The DEIS and the license application are
required by law to show a need
for the project and to examine alternatives to the proposed project as
well as
provide a cost-benefit analysis.

"It's easy to show a benefit if you understate
your costs
by 300-500%, disregard the generation potential of your competitors and
overstate the need for your project," said Mariotte. "But
Marylanders-and U.S.
taxpayers, who will be called on to loan the money to build this
reactor-deserve better. An honest, defensible examination of the costs
this reactor, the actual need for its electricity, and potential
sources of electricity will show that Calvert Cliffs-3 is unnecessary,
expensive, and plenty of clean sources of electricity exist to meet
need for power does exist," said Mariotte. "That's why we
submitted this contention-in the hope that the NRC will heed the warning
signs and hold that honest hearing."

The groups involved in the licensing proceeding
are NIRS, Public
Citizen, Beyond Nuclear and Southern Maryland CARES.

The full text of the contention is available

Nuclear Information and Resource Service is the information and networking center for people and organizations concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation, and sustainable energy issues.