AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A fire that shot 50 foot flames into the air erupted January 8th in the main transformer at the South Texas Project site near Bay City, Texas, about 90 miles southwest of Houston. Reactor 2, which was out of commission for five winter months in 2011-2012, has not been operating since the fire. The fire occurred just one week prior to a hearing on re-licensing the two South Texas Project reactors, which will be held January 15th from 2-5 pm and 7-10 pm at the Bay City Civic Center, 201 Seventh St. "Nuclear reactor fires and explosions create serious safety risks, and are of great concern to those of us who live close by. While the South Texas Project fire was burning I found myself trying to decide which of our rescue ranch horses we could take if my family had to evacuate due to radioactive releases, and which we would have to leave behind," said Susan Dancer, who lives 8 miles from the reactors. "The two South Texas nuclear reactors have been here for decades but Matagorda County still has no full-time, paid fire department. Who knows how long it would take for Houston teams to arrive if needed. Meantime, plant managers have been busy cutting personnel in hopes of higher profits, instead of putting safety first." The STP reactors are owned by NRG, Austin Energy and San Antonio's CPS Energy. "Any nuclear reactor is at risk from fires, explosions, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, lack of cooling water and terrorist attacks, as well as accidents due to human error and mechanical failure," said Karen Hadden, Director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition. "This is like a used car deal – made fourteen years in advance. Why not wait until 2025 to see what shape the reactors are in before even considering re-licensing? The reactors, now 24 and 25 years old, are licensed to run 40 years - until 2027 and 2028. It's time to plan for their replacement, not court disaster by giving aging reactors twenty additional years."