Public meeting on nuclear energy turns tense - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Public meeting on nuclear energy turns tense

Posted: Updated:

MONROE, MI (WTOL) – What was supposed to be a chance for the public to give input on a new nuclear reactor in Monroe County broke out into a shouting match.

The Occupy Toledo movement crossed state lines tonight when they made an appearance at the public hearing of plans by DTE Energy to expand its nuclear site in Frenchtown Township.

When the group disrupted the meeting as the project manager from the nuclear regulatory commission began his presentation, it turned into chaos, and almost started a fight.

Mike Leonardi, an Occupy Toledo member, waited for his moment to break up the meeting by shouting "Mic check! Mic check! Whereas the NRC Region 3."

The group proceeded to shout their opposition to the NRC, claiming that it puts profit over the public's health and safety.

One man became fed up, and attempted to swipe the paper one protester was reading from out of his hand.

The disruption only lasted about five minutes, when the protesters left the meeting.

They did not leave without one last outburst, but they left before Monroe County Community College security kicked them out.

"We only had six people that we knew for sure were going to do it but it seemed about 20 people read it along with us so we're happy with that." Leonardi told us.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesperson Scott Burnell said he will not dignify the protest with an on-camera reaction.

The NRC has said that there appears to be no environmental concerns to prevent them from issuing a permit to build and operate a Fermi 3 reactor next to DTE Energy's existing Fermi 2 plant.

DTE Energy officials say the new plant will increase electricity output to its customers, and create 2,000 construction jobs and more than 800 permanent jobs.

"We feel very comfortable with the safety of the plant and we'll feel very comfortable being involved with a plant that's right next to Fermi 2 and we've got a terrific track record of success." Ron May, DTE Energy's Senior Vice President told us.

The NRC says it will make a final decision on the license to build and operate in 12 to 18 months.

Copyright 2011 WTOL. All rights reserved.