An area educator and environmentalists were among those offering comments Tuesday on a draft report prepared as part of the application to extend the operating license of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant.
First Energy Nuclear Operating Co. is applying to extend the plant’s license for another 20 years.
A draft environmental impact report was the subject of two sessions conducted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at the Camp Perry Conference Center.
Guy Parmigian, superintendent of the Benton-Carroll-Salem Local School District, stressed the plant’s impact on the local economy.
“I know I speak for educators across Northwest Ohio when I say that Davis-Besse serves an important role supporting the educational backbone of our communities. The plant provides more than $5.8 million locally in annual property taxes, which provide a direct and substantial benefit to our school districts. Benton-Carroll-Salem is unique in that approximately 20 percent of our total revenues are the result of Davis-Besse’s operations within our school district.”
He said Davis-Besse also has hosted two “Teach the Teacher” events for middle and high school teachers from several school districts, offering them a chance to learn about the fission process, electric generation and distribution and careers in the nuclear industry.
“This program has helped us develop enhanced curriculums that embrace science and technology,” Parmigian said.
Toledo attorney Terry Lodge, speaking for a coalition of environmental organizations, said recent problems at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico should end any NRC “confidence” in commercial radioactive waste management. The Energy Department is investigating a fire last month at the underground repository for waste from the nation’s nuclear defense program.
“NRC’s assumptions regarding the disposal of Davis-Besse’s radioactive wastes have been fatally undermined by the WIPP leak,” he said. “NRC’s blank check for radioactive waste generation at Davis-Besse should be immediately voided.”
A preliminary finding by NRC staff says the environmental impacts of renewing the plant’s license would not preclude renewing the license. The finding is based on an analysis of FirstEnergy’s environmental report, consultation with federal, state and local agencies and the staff’s independent review.
Other opponents said renewable sources of energy are sufficient to replace Davis-Besse’s output.
Joe DeMare, of Bowling Green, pointed to a recent study by PJM, a regional transmission organization that coordinates the flow of wholesale electrical power in 13 states. The study found that with adequate transmission expansion it wouldn’t have significant reliability problems operating with up to 30 percent of its energy provided by wind and solar generation.
The NRC will accept comments on the draft environmental report through April 21. The Davis-Besse license is scheduled to expire April 22, 2017.