Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

March 5, 2013

Fermi nuclear plant expansion protested

FRENCHTOWN TOWNSHIP (AP) — An environmental coalition wants federal officials to block plans for a proposed addition to DTE Energy Co.’s Fermi nuclear plant in southeastern Michigan.

The groups filed new legal arguments with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, based on a final environmental impact statement issued in January, The Monroe Evening News reported.

Detroit-based DTE is seeking a federal license to build and operate the Fermi 3 plant. Opponents of the plan say the project’s environmental review is flawed, they question whether the plant’s electricity would be needed and say there are other environmental issues.

The federal panel will review the information and decide whether to hold hearings.

DTE disagrees with the arguments, said spokesman Guy Cerullo. It said it hasn’t made any commitment yet to build the new nuclear plant, but it is seeking a license to keep that option open.

“We’re going through the process and these contentions, as well as the previous ones, are being thoroughly examined by the licensing process,” Cerullo said, “and we remain committed to that rigorous process, which is based on factual information and reviewed by experts.”

The existing Fermi 2 plant is in Monroe County’s Frenchtown Township, near Monroe.

The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board earlier said it would hold a hearing on whether the proposed addition to the plant would harm the habitat of an endangered snake. Environmental and anti-nuclear groups said the eastern fox snake might be put at risk.

One of the new arguments against the plant said that the snake’s habitat also could be affected by a proposed 11-mile corridor for transmission lines. The groups also argue that there has been no adequate review of whether historical or archaeological sites would be disturbed.

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