It’s obviously a Bay City thing, cause they weren’t havin’ none of of that anti-nuke sentiment at this week’s U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearing on the potential environmental impacts of the proposed expansion at the South Texas Nuclear Project. (Read Bay City Trollers, on CurBlog.)
We think that the nurse that accused her region’s leadership of having been “seduced” by the proposed doubling of the site hit it right on the nose. It is a seduction. As much as any struggling economy (and Texas has plenty of them) can be swung to jail economies or sewage sludge spreading in just the same vein. Course, that don’t make it short-sighted or any less ignorant.
There was no debate in Bay City. No meeting of the minds.
The company doctor insisted there is no scientific literature linking nuclear plants with cancer. The mayor (right) confessed himself a “PIMBY” (Please In My Backyard). The industrial headhunters were on message: Plant=Jobs=Houses=Service Sector Expansion=Houses=Jobs=More Plants=One More Texas City on the Coast.
Weren’t a lot of real discussions about the issues with nukes.
Fellow communities suffering from in-situ leach mining? No comment.
Long-lived, deadly wastes with no place to go? We can handle it.
The risk from terrorism? Global Warming? All you get is a snear from Bay City’s movers and shakers.
What about the tragic expense of nuclear? Well, that one actually plays well in Brazoria County. Go ahead, hire too many workers to work too many hours. Shoot. That sounds reeeel nice. Fishing charters may go up until the ocean’s total fisheries collapse (due about 30 years after 3&4 could go online).
But what about sea level rise? Heck, you can track that yourownself.
Find Matagorda County with Maplandia satellite images. See that engineered cooling pool southwest of Bay City sitting beside the Colorado River? There be STNP.
Wonder of wonders, the folks at the University of Arizona have worked out a U.S. coast computer model for sea level rise. Just zoom on in there. Don’t be shy. I found the base estimates for this century (a couple feet) put Palacios in jeopardy and clean sunk Matagorda and the barrier islands under water (below). You can use the river’s bends to place STNP.
Then there are some ‘worst-case’ scenarios courtesy of NASA.
Recent observations of Greenland and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet raise concerns for the future. Satellites detect a thinning of parts of the Greenland Ice Sheet at lower elevations, and glaciers are disgorging ice into the ocean more rapidly, adding 0.23 to 0.57 mm/yr to the sea within the last decade. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is also showing some signs of thinning. Either ice sheet, if melted completely, contains enough ice to raise sea level by 5-7 m. A global temperature rise of 2-5°C might destabilize Greenland irreversibly. Such a temperature rise lies within the range of several future climate projections for the 21st century. However, any significant meltdown would take many centuries. Furthermore, even with possible future accelerated discharge from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, it highly unlikely that annual rates of sea level rise would exceed those of the major post-glacial meltwater pulses.
That leaves the coast under a six-meter rise, looking more like this:
From my vantage point, that would put STNP right on the Gulf’s hariest lip with likely intrusion of the cooling pond.
Of course, we’ll have gotten those wastes out of there by then right? Right?