City of Victoria Denies TSEPA Equal Time on Community Channel for Exelon Nuclear Plant Forum

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Forum won't be aired though Exelon-sponsored programming appears

It's not the right site and it's a bad use of water

Texans for a Sound Energy Policy Alliance (TSEPA) today expressed its disappointment that the City of Victoria has denied a request to rebroadcast the group's Oct. 9th community forum regarding the potential impact of a proposed nuclear reactor in Victoria County.

The group made a request for equal time on City Channel 15 to provide the citizens of Victoria with information on all sides of this important issue. TSEPA offered to provide a professionally produced tape of the forum at no cost to the city. The City channel has already aired Exelon Corporation presentations in support of a proposed nuclear reactor. These programs are also featured on the City's Web site.

"It's disappointing that the TV government channel paid for with our tax dollars is not available to those seeking to educate the people of Victoria on one of the most important issues ever debated here," said TSEPA Director John Figer. "Viewers of Channel 15 are getting one side of the story. We don't understand why the sharing of information would be threatening to our City government."

In denying TSEPA's request for equal time, the City stated that "private sector businesses, companies or organizations cannot air programs on Vtv15." However, Figer noted that one presentation featured on the City channel clearly acknowledges that the program is brought to viewers by Exelon Nuclear, as well as an arm of municipal government.

"Even before they have a permit in Victoria, Exelon is apparently flexing its giant corporate muscle at City Hall -- at least in helping to make decisions on what viewers can or cannot see on the City's cable channel," said Figer.

Exelon Nuclear formally submitted an application in September with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeking to build and operate a nuclear plant on an 11,500-acre tract of land in Victoria County.

To help educate interested residents on the basics of nuclear power and its potential impact on the surrounding communities, TSEPA hosted a free "Nuclear 101" community forum in Victoria on Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts.

Video highlights of the forum can be viewed at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJJt7D6noC0

The forum featured Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, Maryland. A recognized authority on energy issues, Dr. Makhijani is the author and co-author of numerous reports and books on energy and environment related issues. He was the principal author of the first study of the energy efficiency potential of the US economy published in 1971. He is the author of Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (2007).

"I believe it is likely these new reactors in Victoria will be economic lemons before they come online," said Makhijani. "With the growth of solar and wind energy in Texas and the cost coming down, it will be difficult to find buyers for the electricity generated by these new reactors."

Additionally, the forum included a presentation by Jim Blackburn, an environmental attorney and professor at Rice University. Blackburn noted there are serious questions about the impact the high water use at the nuclear plant will have on the Guadalupe River, as well as bays and estuaries. "It's not the right site and it's a bad use of water," said Blackburn.

TSEPA's mission is to support a Texas energy supply policy that is reasonable, sustainable and environmentally sound. A primary goal is to ensure the process of approving the proposed nuclear power plant is not rushed or secretive. Along with seeking public opinion and community participation in the process, TSEPA has retained engineers, hydrologists, attorneys, and economic and environmental consultants to conduct independent studies to answer questions and highlight any problems that may be identified.

To learn more about TSEPA and its concerns regarding the proposed nuclear reactor, visit http://www.speakupvictoria.com.

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