Surveys: Texans show strong support for nuclear energy, expanding South Texas Project

By adriana_acosta

Jan. 8, 2011 at 10 p.m.
Updated Jan. 10, 2011 at 7:11 p.m.

Results of two statewide surveys released last week show Texans support nuclear power and the expansion of South Texas Project.

In both polls, Texans believe nuclear energy should play an important role in meeting the future energy needs of Texas.

The telephone survey results were released by Nuclear Innovation North America and NRG Energy. One poll was conducted statewide by Baselice and Associates, and the second was conducted among voters in Austin by Littlefield Consulting.

From those who took the survey, 72 percent favor the building of two additional nuclear power plants at South Texas Project.

"The results of these polls show support overall for the need for nuclear power in Texas," said Buddy Eller, director of communication for South Texas Project.

Strong support was specifically shown for the expansion of Units 3 and 4, he said.

"We are very encouraged by this poll because those who took the poll believe that nuclear energy should play an important role in meeting the future energy needs of Texas," he said.

The construction of Units 3 and 4 would add two additional units that would generate about 2,700 megawatts, enough to power more than 2 million Texas homes.

The construction of both units is expected to provide 6,000 construction jobs at the peak of the four-year construction. South Texas Project is the largest employer in Matagorda County with 1,200 employees.

Survey results states 70 percent of Austin residents who answered the survey favor Austin Energy buying more power from STP.

Austin Energy, which is 16 percent owner of Units 1 and 2, is looking into obtaining a contract to purchase additional power from units 3 and 4.

"The city of Austin is a municipal system and, as a city, it continues to grow," he said. "They need to buy energy for their future needs."

As for Units 3 and 4, a federal loan guarantee continues to be the critical element related to this project.

Eller said South Texas Project expects to hear about loan guarantees in the first quarter of this year.

"Pre-construction activities are not complete and should continue in 2011," he said.

Corrected Jan. 11, 2011.



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