Opponents of a plan to build two new nuclear reactors at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant told a panel of administrative judges last Thursday that more study needs to be done on the proposed expansionís environmental impact.

The three-judge panel headed by Ann Marshall Young heard arguments from attorneys for groups opposing Dallas-based Luminant's plan at a public hearing in Granbury.

Intervenors in Luminantís application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build the new reactors argued that the NRC staff did not consider alternatives to constructing more power plants and whether nuclear power is ďeconomically feasible" considering the high price tags to build new plants and the outlook for low natural gas prices.

Luminant has estimated the cost of constructing the two new reactors at $15 billion to $20 billion.

A preliminary ruling in the draft environmental impact report filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified no environmental issues that would stop the NRC from issuing a license to Luminant.

Intervenors include the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, Public Citizen, True Cost of Nukes and state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth.

Luminant hopes to receive approval by late 2012 or early 2013 to begin adding the new units. They could go online in the 2018 to 2020 timeframe.

The expansion is expected to create 5,000 jobs over five years of construction. Unlike the previous construction of Comanche Peak, the expansion would entail bringing in modular parts constructed at another site. That would mean not as many lower-paying and temporary construction jobs at the plant, county and company officials have said.

Somervell County elected officials and civic leaders have expressed strong support for the plant, although some Hood County have told the NRC they worry that the new reactors will take too much water out of Lake Granbury and affect water levels and their property values, as well as impact recreation and tourism.