The meeting, hosted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ran from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and drew mostly favorable responses to the plan which could bring a fourth plant and new jobs to the area.
Jill Lyon, senior communications consultant for Constellation Energy, said Thursday that the company and UniStar are pursuing a combined license application.
It would allow them to construct and operate a new reactor facility, possibly in Scriba. They are in the process of evaluating four potential sites
An application will be submitted this fall; and the process can take from 36 to 42 months to complete, NRC officials told the crowd Thursday night.
The vast majority of the crowd indicated the sooner the better, citing this area’s need for jobs and more tax revenues. Many of them were employed at one of the three existing plants or benefited in some way from them.
Assemblyman Will Barclay said he is proud to represent three nuclear power plants, and is looking forward to four.
“I think you’ll find, particularly when you see the support we have here, that Oswego County is the nuke capital of New York State and of the country,” he told the NRC representatives.
U.S. Rep. John McHugh sent a letter expressing his support of building another plant in Scriba.
More than 30 speakers followed Barclay to the microphones set up in the front of the room.
Some of them expressed concerns regarding things such as nuclear waste, the possibilities of accidents and attacks by terrorists.
Gary Toth, the business rep for Carpenters Local 747, pointed out there are dangers associated with energy jobs.
“There’s danger when you take any form of substance and try to make energy out of it,” he said. “We try to minimize it.”
The current plants are safe and well-run, “their safety record is second to none,” he continued. “There is no doubt in my mind, you could build Nine Mile 3 and it would run just as safely as the other plants that are there right now.”
State Senate candidate David Renzi also spoke in favor of building a new plant.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for our region,” he told the NRC.
The nuclear power industry plays a key role in the economy of the region, Jennifer Hill, executive director of the Grater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, pointed out.
It is one of the largest employers in Oswego County, she said.
It provides approximately 900 jobs with a $96 million payroll “and contributing greatly to the tax base; they currently provide more than $25 million in revenue to the town of Scriba, Oswego County and the Oswego City School District,” Hill said.
A new reactor would crate about 4,000 new construction jobs and 400 permanent profession jobs, “creating even more local payroll and taxes paid into the community,” she added.
She also highlighted their involvement in many local civic and charitable events.
Oswego County Legislator Mike Kunzwiler, a Constellation employee, highlighted the plant’s safety record.
“Just ask the employees that work here, they wouldn’t be working here if it wasn’t safe. I wouldn’t work there if it wasn’t safe,” he said.
“Having a third nuclear power plant would be equivalent to hitting the lottery for many residents and businesses here,” he added.
The area would welcome another plant “with open arms,” he said.
Another county legislator, Lee Walker, asked the trades people in the crowd to raise their hands.
“They’re looking for jobs,” he said gesturing to the dozens of raised hands in the audience. “Oswego County doesn’t have that many jobs right now. Good paying jobs, that’s what Oswego County needs. And, they need them now.”
Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman, a Constellation employee, noted the area has a large highly skilled and qualified workforce that would benefit from the construction of a new plant.
Lois Luber, of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, pointed out that generosity of the plants and their workers. Sixteen percent of the total campaign dollars for the United Way came from Constellation employees, she said. Sixty-two percent of the workforce at Nine Mile Point gives more than $500 a year to the campaign, she added.
Public input will continually be sought as the process moves forward, NRC officials said.
If the license is issued, the NRC will authorize the licensee to start construction of the nuclear power plant, to load fuel and eventually to operate the plant ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ if specified conditions are met.
As the licensing process move forward, documents associated with the project will be posted on www.nrc.gov