• CPS Energy failed to tell public true nuke estimate

    South Texas Project

    Nice scoop by Anton Caputo and Tracy Idell Hamilton:

    CPS Energy knew a year ago that contractor Toshiba Inc. wanted at least $4 billion more than San Antonio was willing to pay for the nuclear expansion, according to several sources close to the deal.

    Despite this, utility officials used a much lower figure as they pitched the project at public meetings during the summer, arguing that nuclear was the most cost-effective way for San Antonio to meet its future energy needs.

  • Readers respond to false nuke claim

    The South Texas Project nuclear plant
    The South Texas Project nuclear plant

    Have you heard of the nuclear accident at the SL-1 military facility that killed three men in 1961?

    Some readers of the San Antonio Express-News know about it. And today they questioned claims by nuclear plant owner CPS Energy that no one has ever been harmed by operations at a nuclear plant in the United States.

    Check out the sweeping claims by CPS Energy in the story here, and look at the response by two readers who offered links to articles and reports about the deadly, Jan. 3, 1961 steam explosion at an experimental nuclear facility in Idaho.

    Today I asked a CPS Energy official about the accident. While noting the military facility was a prototype that pales in comparison to today’s commercial nuclear plans, he acknowledged that CPS’ sweeping claims need to be scaled back.

    I wrote a story about the issue that’s running tomorrow — kudos to our readers for the great tip.

  • Tracking the safety record of a nuclear plant

    The South Texas Project nuclear plant
    The South Texas Project nuclear plant
    As CPS Energy seeks to invest in an expansion of the South Texas Project nuclear plant, the San Antonio Express-News set up a timeline of the plant’s history and safety record.

    You can check out what we’ve found so far, and also submit information in an online forum. We’ll plug relevant events into the chronology.

    Over the past two decades the plant has won industry awards for its track record. But we also found:

  • An incident report about a small fire in an electrical room at the plant;
  • A report alleging there were holes in plant security;
  • Reports about tiny cracks found in nozzles at the bottom of a reactor;
  • And in an unusual incident last year, there’s a news story about a jet fighter that was scrambled to intercept a private plane flying near the plant. Within minutes of that emergency, a man was spotted with a rifle case at the plant and was detained. It turned out he was an employee who bought the rifle case at the plant’s company store.
  • I did most of the research and mySA’s Mike Howell plugged the information into the online database. Feel free to contact us if you have any suggestions.

  • Nuclear power: A primer on CPS Energy’s proposal to San Antonio

    The San Antonio Express-News set up a Web page with links to sites and news stories about CPS Energy’s plans to invest $5.2 billion in a proposed expansion of the South Texas Project nuclear plant in Matagorda County.

    How two newspapers teamed up to cover a nuclear plant John TedescoHere some more resources about the project and the nuclear plant:

  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Includes links to inspection reports and enforcement actions at STP.
  • San Antonio Current: Greg Harman at the city’s alt weekly has covered the issue in many stories and blog posts stretching back years. (Two stories are here and here).

    His most recent blog entry questioned the format of the recent mayor’s forum, which allowed only one question apiece from critics.

  • STP site: The energy company’s Web site includes press releases about its past awards and touts its safety record. The site has a “milestones” page, which is a timeline of the plant’s history. The chronology includes events in the troubled early days of the plant’s construction.
  • Nuke Free Texas: What critics are saying about the proposal.