OPPOSITION: NC Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (NC WARN); local residents.
BACKGROUND: On February 19, 2008, Progress Energy applied for a combined license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to build two 1,100-megawatt Westinghouse Advanced Passive 1000 (AP1000) nuclear reactors at its existing Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant near New Hill in Wake County, North Carolina. Early estimates were in the range of $4.4 billion, but in a revised application filed with the NRC in October 2008, Progress raised the cost estimate for the expansion to $9.3 billion. Progress expects the new reactors to be brought online by 2018, if the NRC approves the license.
On August 5, 2008, environmental group NC WARN filed a lawsuit against the Shearon Harris expansion project, citing, according to the group’s press release, “unresolved design problems, weakened safety and security protections, faulty cost estimates and other deficiencies that would lead to soaring power bills and threaten public safety.” The NRC threw out the case, and one year later, on July 22, 2009, NC WARN filed an appeal on the same grounds as the original lawsuit.
In September 2010, Progress Energy told state regulators that it is reassessing its nuclear options, including the Shearon Harris expansion project. Opponents see this as a sign that Progress may be considering giving up on the project. In October 2011, Progress reported that it is putting off plans for the Shearon Harris expansion until 2025.
SOURCES: NRC (http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/harris.html);
WRAL.com (http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/3759561/; http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/2390421/);
Orange County Board of Commissioners (http://www.co.orange.nc.us/occlerks/0806246e2.pdf);
NC WARN (http://www.ncwarn.org/?p=566);
Charlotte News Observer (http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/09/16/683890/nuclear-plant-looks-less-likely.html);
Charlotte Business Journal (http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2010/10/11/story8.html).
Last Updated: November 10, 2010