WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The public got the chance Thursday night to hear more about a proposed uranium enrichment plant to be built at the GE Hitachi plant in Wilmington.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission presented its report on the safety and economic impact. Representatives with the NRC say they used a critical process to evaluate everything from transportation to air quality impacts.
“Particulate matter, concentrations, mostly resulting from fugitive dust emissions are expected to exceed the standards but would be of short duration,” NRC Project Manager Jennifer Davis said.
The NRC says programs would need to be in place to safeguard against environmental risks.
“We need an environmental program that will minimize releases, that will track and record releases,” NRC Project Manager on Licensing Tim Johnson said.
Enriching uranium with lasers could make it cheaper to fuel nuclear power plants that generate electricity.
Tom Clements, with the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, doesn’t support a license for the plant. He says with this new technology there needs to be a more rigorous process of evaluating potential dangers.
“Anytime you’re handling uranium like that, there’s a proliferation risk associated with it and if there was a nuclear reaction, that’s one of the biggest risks of these kinds of plants,” Clements said.
For or against the uranium plant, Clements says the community should be asking the tough questions and pushing for more thorough evaluations.
“We think people should be asking for proliferation assessment to be done before there’s further consideration for a license for this new technology,” Clements said.
The NRC said the potential plant poses no serious threat.
A decision to approve or disapprove the plant’s license request will be made in August. If it passes, the license could be approved as early as September.