Sansom and Crossley. The 10 p.m. report
centered almost exclusively on the plant
with Jim Parsons, an HL&P spokesperson,
giving an on-site explanation of steps
taken to correct some design flaws.
Parsons apparently called KPRC after
the first report to complain that the report gave the impression the problems
still existed when in fact they had been
According to KPRC news' George
Caldwell, Parsons said they had "problems," not "big problems." By 10 p.m.
the report noted that problems had existed, but they had been taken care of.
LAURA FURMAN resigned her position as senior editor of City
The Austin American-Statesman ran a
story May 30 on a special investigation
into the STNP by the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, stemming from allegations
made to federal officials during a routine
inspection May 16-23. There was no local
reporting of the investigation.
Carlos Byars, environmental reporter
for the Houston Chronicle, feels that out-
of-town publications are "catching up
with matters that we covered some time
back. Some people that are not in the
media directly think we ought to be
down there camped on their doorstep,
watching every weld made and printing
every word that anybody says that objects to the plant and likewise ignore
anything the company (HL&P) says
about it. That's not the way this reporter
works or this paper works. The presence
of Time-Life, Newsweek etcetera does
not impress me."
Like Scarlett, Byars has not reported
on the STNP in the last month
KPRC's (June 9) 6 p.m. newscast had
a story on the STNP and interviews with
have something to tell us."
So what about the City story itself?
Its critics have charged that it was not
well-researched and was a weak story.
"Much ado about not very much," said
the Post's Scarlett. "I think there were
grounds for killing it because of poor
t research," said Fox.
"This story was never intended to be
the definitive piece on the situation,"
said Sansom. "It's simply an analysis of
the public record. It's all from NRC
documents and the congressional record."
Crossley agreed. "Andrew was going to
do that first story and then go right on,
"If they want all of the liabilities, then they
can put up all of the money, and then they
can be independent."
Friday's edition of the Matagorda
County Tribune ran an article headlined
'HL&P Disputes Television Story,' which
read like an HL&P press release.
Parsons was the only source quoted in
the story by staff reporter Jim Barlow.
"Parsons said that he talked with KPRC
news after the 6 p.m. report and that the
10 p.m. report was more accurate."
In light of the national concern over
potential dangers of nuclear power, I
asked Tom Fox of KPRC-TV news why
there has been so little local reporting on
the STNP. "The only thing done on this
has been on HL&P's initiative," he said.
"They call a news conference when they
he had a lot more material that he was
working on. He will be doing more stories
on it. They just won't be appearing in
"Yes, it's a small story," said Laura
Furman, "but if we'd published it at the
right time and then the NRC decided to
investigate, wouldn't that have been
nice for us? "
It is a fact that the de Menil family
and George Brown have a long and close
association, which has been perceived
by some observers as the reason de Menil
killed the story. He denies it.
(continued on next page)
by Andy Sansom and David Crossley
SOUTH TEXAS NUCLEAR
PROJECT UNIT I
APRIL 16-19, 1978
RO REPORT NO. 78-08:
". . . on April 18, 1978, four outdated
reactor containment drawings . . . were
observed in the Unit 1 containment area
where related work activities were being
". . . the inspector observed that the
bolted joint of four structural beams to
column 103 ... in the Unit 1 containment was only partially inspected as confirmed by the responsible [quality control] inspector, yet the record print . . .
was marked indicating that the inspection
SOUTH TEXAS NUCLEAR
PROJECT UNIT 2
APRIL 17-20, 1978
RO REPORT NO. 78-07:
"The IE Inspector observed that although Unit No. 2 containment liner
weld seam No. 95 . . . had been only
partially prepared for welding, fabrication check list, FCL 2th-17.0 had been
signed indicating that preparation was
complete and the seam was ready for
welding. This is an infraction."
Typed at the top of another report:
"Weld defects were found on 28 reactor
coolant system support structural steel
columns. Cause was inadequate welding
In such reports filed by inspectors
acting on behalf of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), one finds
examples of failure to follow adequate
welding procedures, to provide specified
in-process inspection, to provide revised
drawings; all infractions uncovered during
inspections of the construction of one of
the world's largest nuclear power plants,
eight miles from Wadsworth, Texas,
twelve miles from Bay City, and ninety
miles from downtown Houston.
While the accident at Three Mile
Island has increased the public debate
over atomic energy, recent events at and
near the site of the nuclear power plant
Brown & Root, Inc., is building for a consortium of utility companies managed by
Houston Lighting & Power (HL&P) may
soon catapult the already beleaguered
facility into national prominence.
The South Texas Project, due to be
completed in 1983, is a joint project of
HL&P, Central Power and Light Company in Corpus Christi, and the municipal
utilities of Austin and San Antonio.
Increasingly, the project is under attack
from anti-nuclear power critics as well as
from some former and present construction workers and inspectors. At least one
lawsuit is in the offing in addition t^ allegations and evidence of fa lty
workmanship, improper procedures, carelessness and violations of safety standards. Workers and residents near the
plant report tension on the job site,
where there are signs of hostility between
personnel assigned to build the plant and
those assigned to ensure its safety.
Opponents of the project, as well as
(continued on next page)