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Nuclear Costs

Estimates for new reactor construction costs continue to sky-rocket. Conservative estimates range between $6 and $12 billion per reactor but Standard & Poor's predicts a continued rise. The nuclear power industry is lobbying for heavy federal subsidization including unlimited loan guarantees but the Congressional Budget Office predicts the risk of default will be well over 50 percent, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Beyond Nuclear opposes taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies for the nuclear energy industry.

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Thursday
Apr162015

"FERC Rejects Ginna Rates, Orders Settlement Proceeding"

The Ginna atomic reactor, on the Lake Ontario shoreline in upstate New YorkAs reported by William Opalka in RTO Insider, "The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday rejected the rate schedule proposed for a struggling nuclear power plant needed for reliability in western New York and ordered hearing and settlement proceedings (ER15-1047)."

The R.E. Ginna atomic reactor, owned and operated by Exelon Nuclear of Chicago, is one of the very oldest still-operating in the U.S. It fired up in 1969. It is located in Ontario, New York, on the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Exelon's scheme for keeping Ginna operating -- despite losing tens of millions of dollars per year, for the past three years -- is to gouge ratepayers in Rochester, NY.

Wednesday
Apr012015

From Midwest to Mid-Atlantic, ratepayer resistance to nuclear bailouts intensifies!

"Burning money" graphic art by Gene Case and Avening Angels appeared on the cover of Nation Magazine, accompanying an article by Christian Parenti about the nuclear power relapseNuclear utilities, like Exelon of Chicago and FirstEnergy of Ohio, are seeking multi-billion (yes, billion with a B!) dollar bailouts for their dirty, dangerous, and uncompetitive atomic reactors. Exelon is also trying to take over the Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco, in a thinly veiled attempt to gouge ratepayers to prop up its failing nukes, while gutting clean energy competition: efficiency, renewables, and distributed energy. But a growing coalition of residential and business ratepayers, nuclear watchdogs, and even state agencies, are pushing back, with creative street theater, community educational forums, and legal interventions before Public Service Commissions. More.
Monday
Mar302015

Op-eds urge PUCO to reject FirstEnergy's requested $3 billion bailout for Davis-Besse & coal plant

Two op-eds published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer advocate that FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) should not be allowed to saddle Ohio ratepayers with a $3 billion surcharge over the next 15 years. FENOC seeks the subsidy to keep two dirty, dangerous, and uncompetitive power plants on life support (the Davis-Besse atomic reactor near Toledo, and the Sammis coal plant on the Ohio River).

The first op-ed was written by Connie Kline, a long-time nuclear power watchdog in northeast Ohio. She focused on safety risks at FENOC's problem-plagued Davis-Besse reactor.

A second op-ed opposing the bailout was co-written by three Cuyahoga County elected officials (a state senator, a Cuyahoga County council member, and a Cleveland city council member). It described burdening hard-working Ohio ratepayers with this subsidy for FirstEnergy as "unconscionable and unacceptable," and urged the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to reject the plan.

Readers are encouraged to join in the debate by submitting comments in the section under the op-eds.

Friday
Mar272015

"Maryland PSC delays decision on Pepco-Exelon merger"

Logo courtesy of Public Citizen Energy ProgramAs reported by UtilityDIVE and Argus Media, the Maryland Public Service Commission (MD PSC) has given itself till May 8th to decide whether or not to approve the proposed $6.8 billion merger between Exelon Nuclear and the Mid-Atlantic electric utility Pepco. There have been multiple postponements by the MD PSC over the decision, amidst opposition and concerns, including from the State of Maryland Energy Administration.

The MD PSC was originally scheduled to reach a decision in February. Exelon hopes to complete the merger by September.

Friday
Mar272015

Is the Exelon Nuclear Takeover of Pepco in the Public Interest?

Tim Judson, Executive Director of NIRS. Photo courtesy of NIRS.As just announced by the University of the District of Columbia's (UDC) David A. Clarke School of Law, two panels of experts will examine the question of whether or not the proposed purchase of PEPCO by Exelon Nuclear is in the public interest for District of Columbia ratepayers.

UDC School of Law has a web post on the event, and asks that those planning to attend RSVP in advance.

The event will be held on Wed., April 8, 2015 from 7 to 10 PM in the UDC School of Law's Moot Court Room, 5th Floor, at 4340 Connecticut Ave., NW in Washington, D.C.

The first panel will include Tim Judson, Executive Director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and author of the report "Killing the Competition: The Nuclear Power Agenda to Block Climate Action, Stop Renewable Energy, and Subsidize Old Reactors" (photo, left). Judson has testified against the Exelon-Pepco merger, as to the Maryland Public Service Commission.

Also on the first panel will be DC Councilmember Mary Cheh; Marc Battle of PEPCO (invited); and Tyson Slocum, Energy Director of Public Citizen.

The second panel will include: Attorney and Georgetown Law Professor Scott Hempling; D.C. People's Counsel Sandra Mattavous-Frye (UDC Law '83); Maryland People's Counsel Paula Carmody (UDC Law '80); and U. of Delaware Prof. Jeremy Firestone, Esq., Ph.D., and Delaware Intervener.