Page 13


November 12, 1982 A Journal of Free Voices COMANCHE PEAK REPORT Photo by Fred Baldwin A litany of safety violations, coverups, and illegal firings. By Betty Brink Fort Worth rr HE TWO MASSIVE, gray domes, covered in scaffolding and cranes, tower above the old scrub cedars and rocky limestone mesas of the Comanche Plateau in Somervell County like monumental props for some sci-fi movie set in a “galaxy far, far away.” The twin domes, which appear suddenly in the distance as you top a hill on state highway 67 between Cleburne and Glen Rose, are as startlingly anachronistic in those ancient cedar brakes surrounded by hard-scrabble farmland as the dinosaurs who left their footprints a million years ago in the sands of Squaw Creek and along the banks of the nearby Paluxy. One set of dinosaur footprints, which lay undisturbed for millenia as the sands gradually turned to stone, now resides in the Dallas corporate offices of Texas Utilities, cut out of the shallow, clear waters of Squaw Creek ten years ago when the stream was dammed to provide cooling water for the nuclear power plant known as the Comanche Peak Steam Electric Station . still under construction whose giant, twin-reactor containment buildings can be seen for ten miles on a clear day. Texas Utilities is building Comanche Peak for its subsidiaries, Dallas Power and Light, Texas Electric Service Comwhich effectively control electric consumption from East Texas to West Texas and across the northern half of the state. But the road to nuclear power generation has been as rocky as the mesas the plant sits on. \(At least one TESCO vice-president told me last year, “if we knew then what we know now, we’d Comanche Peak has been under con struction since 1973 and was scheduled to open in 1980 at a total cost of $779 million. Today’s utility projections set an opening date of 1984 for Unit 1 and 1986 for Unit 2, at an official estimated cost of $3.44 billion. \(Unofficially it’s estimated to top 5 has been consistent, led by small, but vocal groups,’ especially over the past three years as its operating licensing proceedings became a forum for inter Continued on Page 7