Environmentalists Plan To Attend Hearing For Cherokee Nuclear Pl - WSPA.com

Hearing For Cherokee Nuclear Plant To Be Held Thursday

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Air7 above the proposed nuclear facility site Air7 above the proposed nuclear facility site

Environmental activists plan to question state officials about a permit application for wastewater discharge at a new power plant in Cherokee County.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control will host the meeting Thursday April 4 at Encounter Church at 6:00pm. The church is located at 1905 N. Limestone Street in Gaffney.

Duke Energy plans to build a nuclear facility on the Broad River over the next decade.

Some environmentalists are worried about the permit, specifically what it means for drinking water and the ecosystem.

"You don't have to be a scientist you just have to know that it's wrong dump toxic wastewater into the broad river," environmentalist Jan Hammett said.

A Duke spokeswoman expects the first unit to go online at the Lee Nuclear station in 2023.

That may seem far away but environmentalists say people should pay attention now.

"With an environmental disaster or catastrophe - the only way to avoid that is not to do it," Hammett said.

Cherokee County economic development leaders emphasize the positive factors that come with the plant.

Including a huge amount of added tax revenue and putting around a thousand people to work.

The Spartanburg Community College's Gaffney campus has worked with Duke to create a program to train potential employees.

But it remains a wait and see situation, as political and economic changes can throw a long-term project like this off.

Still, businesses value nuclear power.

"This will ensure that duke energy can maintain their low electric rates for us to be able to recruit here in the two Carolinas," Jim Cook, director of Cherokee County's economic board, said.

Cook has faith in Duke.

"We've seen their track record of the nuclear facilities that they have and we're confident they'll operate a safe facility here," Cook said.

Duke still has to get a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The company expects that in 2015.

Changes implemented following the Fukushima disaster have also added more requirements and pushed back plans.

The plant comes with a $11 to $16 billion price tag.

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