Locals Applaud Proposed Nuke Expansion

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HOUSTON (AP) - Despite objections from nuclear energy opponents, the proposed expansion of a Southeast Texas nuclear power plant has gotten the thumbs up from many locals, who say the project will be an economic boon.

Richard Knapik, the mayor of Bay City, said Tuesday's announcement that the owners of a nearby nuclear power plant want to double its size could pump as much as $6 billion into the local economy.

Power producer NRG Energy, one of the owners of the nuclear power station, on Tuesday submitted the nation's first application for a new nuclear reactor in nearly 30 years.

The New Jersey company has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build two more reactors at the Texas site, where two existing reactors have produced energy since the late 1980s.

The 12,200-acre site in Matagorda County was originally designed to accommodate four reactors.

But the approval process is expected to be lengthy and construction expensive. NRG has said it could be seven or eight years before the new units are producing power.