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Clinton, Illinois Plant

The African American Environmentalist Association has participated in the three Early Site Permit (ESP) hearings sponsored by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). AAEA also attended the Combined Operating License (COL) meeting between Duke Power and NRC. Descriptions of these activities are below.

Exelon Wants To Build New Nuclear Plants

Exelon is the nation's largest nuclear operator, with 17 reactors in Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Exelon, corporate parent of Commonwealth Edison, is in the earliest stages of seeking regulatory approval for the new reactor in Clinton, where an older nuclear plant has operated since 1987.  Antinuclear activists are trying to block construction of a new nuclear plant in Clinton, Ill., about 20 miles south of Bloomington. 

The March 9, 2005 preliminary recommendation of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the draft environmental impact statement on Exelon General Company's Early Site Permit request to build a new nuclear generating facility in Clinton, Illinois found no environmental reasons to prevent construction. .The NRC will make a decision on the Early Site Permit application in August. 2006. AAEA believes this process takes far too long (Exelon applied for the permit in 2003). Public comments on the action can be sumitted to ClintonEIS@nrc.gov

AAEA and NA-YGN Travel To Clinton, Illinois To Support Exelon ESP At NRC Hearing. AAEA President Norris McDonald and his son Sandy McDonald, along with representatives of the North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN): (photo right to left) Delbert Horn, Kelly Taylor, and Michael Stuart traveled by car from Virginia to Clinton in DeWitt County, Illinois to rally in favor of an Early Site Permit for Exelon's proposal to build a new nuclear power plant next to its current facility.  They were joined by dozens of other NA-YGN members and almost 200 supporters from the local community. Kelly Taylor is also a member of AAEA. The hearing was held on April 19, 2005.

The AAEA/NA-YGN contingent toured the Clinton Power Station.  It is a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) and the Radiological Control Area (RCA) includes the turbine building.  After being issued dosimetry, they took a tour of the station, including a view of the fuel building, turbine building, and inside the containment dome (at power) where they could see the top of the reactor vessel covered with water. Howard King (pictured below) conducted the tour.

The blue superstructure (pictured at right) around the actual containment provides an additional layer of protection and emission control. The same type of blue superstructure also covers the generation building.

The NRC hearing on the draft environmental impact statement on Exelon General Company's Early Site Permit request was held at Clinton Junior High School. Exelon filed an application on September 25, 2003 for an Early Site Permit, pursuant to Title 10 Code of the Federal Regulations Part 52 (10CFR part 52). Iif approved, the permit will give Exelon up to 20 years to decide whether to build one or more nuclear plants on the site and to file an application with the NRC for approval to begin construction. Approximately 300 people attended the hearing and the majority of them were in favor of Clinton's ESP.  AAEA and NA-YGN distributed 153 "Nuclear YES! Because We Care About the Air" stickers that made it very easy to identify the pro-nuclear people in attendance.  Unfortunately, not everyone who wanted one was able to get one.  Approximately 20 speakers opposed and 24 speakers favored the Clinton's ESP.

Norris McDonald Speaking at NRC Hearing in Clinton, Illinois

NUREG-1815, "Environmental Impact Statement for an Early Site Permit at the Exelon ESP Site: Draft Report for Comment," is available for public inspection in the NRC Public Document Room (PDR) located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland 20852, or from the Publicly Available Records (PARS) component of NRC's Agency wide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS), and directly on the NRC web site at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html (Public Electronic Reading Room). Persons who do not have access to ADAMS, or who encounter problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, should contact the PDR reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov. In addition, the Vespasian Warner Public Library, located at 310 North Quincy Street, Clinton, Illinois 61727, has the DEIS available for public inspection. Written comments on the draft EIS can be provideing in writing or by email by May 25, 2005 and can be sent to:

McDonald, Delbert Horn, Howard King, Michael Stuart, Kelly Taylor in dosimetry area

Chief, Rules and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of Administration, Mailstop T-6D 59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, WAshington, D.C. 20555-0001 Comments may also be submitted by e-mail to the NRC staff at ClintonEIS@nrc.gov.

Two days after the ESP hearing, the NRC met with representatives of Exelon Generation Company to discuss the agency's assessment of safety performance last year at the Clinton nuclear power plant. Held at the Vespasian Warner Public Library, this meeting provided an opportunity for a discussion of annual assessments of safety performance with the company and with local officials and residents who live near the plant. The meeting is intended to explain the NRC oversight process and to make as much information as possible available to the public regarding NRC regulation of the facility. The NRC's assessment concluded that the Clinton plant operated safely during the period. The NRC uses color-coded inspection findings and performance indicators to assess nuclear plant performance. The colors start with "green" and then increase to "white," "yellow" or "red," commensurate with the safety significance of the issues involved. All of the inspection findings and performance indicators for Clinton during 2004 were determined to be "green." As a result of this performance, the NRC will conduct the normal, baseline level of inspections during the upcoming year. Information on the performance of the plant is available at: www.nrc.gov/NRR/OVERSIGHT/ASSESS/LETTERS/clin_2004q4.pdf & www.nrc.gov/NRR/OVERSIGHT/ASSESS/CLIN/CLIN_CHART.html.

(Right Picture) Chief Nuclear Officer Chris Crane (left) and Exelon Generation President John Young (right) welcomee U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

(Left Picture - from left) Chief Nuclear Officer Chris Crane explains control room operations to Exelon Director of Special Projects Rita Stols, Senator Obama staff members Mike Signator and David Katz, U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Exelon Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff of Frank Clark.)

Although the senator has not directly expressed a position on nuclear power and Illinois nuclear power plants (there are 11 that provide almost 50% of the state's power), he has visited Exelon's Braidwood nuclear power station. AAEA encourages Senator Obama to support nuclear power for his state and the nation. Although it might not be the politically correct thing to do, it is logical and practical to promote emission free production of electricity in the United States.

On Tuesday, January 11, 2005 Braidwood Station welcomed U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.). During the visit, the Senator met with senior company leadership, and toured portions of the facility including the control room. In addition, Sen. Obama received a briefing on the safety, security and future of nuclear power from President of Exelon Generation John Young and Chief Nuclear Officer Chris Crane.

Statement of Senator Barack Obama

Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate Change, and Nuclar Safety

Oversight on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

May 26, 2005

406 Dirksen, 9:00A.M.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing.

As electricity demand throughout the nation increases in the coming decades, we will be challenged in how best to meet these consumption demands without sacrificing the environment. That means creating jobs, protecting water and air quality, establishing energy independence, and using all of our energy resources fully and wisely.

I strongly support greater energy conservation and greater federal investment in renewable technologies such as wind and solar, which ought to receive greater attention in our national energy policy than they likely will this year.

However, as Congress considers policies to address air quality and the deleterious effects of carbon emissions on the global ecosystem, it is reasonable – and realistic – for nuclear power to remain on the table for consideration. Illinois has 11 nuclear power plants – the most of any State in the country – and nuclear power provides more than half of Illinois’ electricity needs.

But keeping nuclear power on the table – and indeed planning for the construction of new plants – is only possible if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is vigilant in its mission. We need better long-term strategies for storing and securing nuclear waste and for ensuring the safe operation of nuclear power plants. How we develop these strategies is a major priority for me.

I look forward to hearing the testimony of the witnesses, and I thank the Chair for holding this hearing.

They drove 13 hours in a van from Virginia to Clinton, Illinois and then drove 13 hours back to Virginia.

Michael Stuart, Delbert Horn, Sandy & NorrisMcDonald, Kelly Taylor