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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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Wednesday
Nov232016

NEIS: "NO RATIONAL BASIS FOR EXELON NUCLEAR BAILOUT" ENVIRO GROUP CONTENDS

PRESS RELEASE from NEIS, as posted at its website:

For immediate release, Wednesday, November 23, 2016                           

Contact: David Kraft, Nuclear Energy Information Service

                           (773)342-7650 (w); neis@neis.org

"NO RATIONAL BASIS FOR EXELON NUCLEAR BAILOUT" ENVIRO GROUP CONTENDS

35-year old environmental, safe-energy organization sends strongly worded letter to legislators advising rejection of corporate “wealth transfer”

[See links at bottom]

CHICAGO--  In a strongly worded letter to state officials warning of “no rational basis for the Exelon nuclear bailout,” a 35-year old Illinois environmental organization today urged legislators to reject the proposed bailout.

Calling it “a ‘wealth transfer’ of billions of dollars from [Illinois] ratepayers to Exelon’s shareholders,” Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) stated that, “this nuclear bailout is not defensible from an environmental, jobs, business or any other rational standard,” referencing testimony and supportive documents it provided the Illinois House Energy Committee last week at a hearing on November 16th.

Recent developments in negotiations among representatives of the environmental community, Exelon and ComEd have resulted in a radically altered legislative proposal which has jettisoned some of the more controversial “deal breaker” elements of the proposal, including ComEd’s proposed “demand charge” basis for setting rates, radically changing solar net metering, and a bailout for financially distressed coal plants (many of which were slated for closure).  However, the core elements that started the whole process over 2 years ago remain:  the proposed Exelon bailout of money-losing nuclear reactors, and the fixing of the Illinois renewable energy portfolio standard.

“We believe that not only is Exelon not deserving of a bailout for its own business failures, but the Legislature itself has failed to do its ‘due diligence’ in the matter before taking the easy way out and letting Exelon undeservedly pick ratepayers’ pockets,” maintains NEIS director David A. Kraft.

Kraft points out that, while the legislature in 2014 approved a seven month, four-agency ‘study’ of the POTENTIAL negative effects of reactor closure on Illinois (HR1146), it failed to examine the other negative implications of approving a nuclear bailout.  “When is the legislature going to approve an equally thorough examination of the detrimental effects on the renewable energy and energy efficiency community in Illinois – which currently supports ~5 times more jobs in Illinois than ALL of the Exelon reactors combined – of a multi-billion dollar nuclear bailout, a 10-year legislatively imposed rate hike?” Kraft asks.  “Those 114,000 Illinois workers would like to have that question answered, too.”

Additionally, the NEIS correspondence notes six other alternatives to a nuclear bailout and major ratepayer rate hike that the legislature, and presumably Exelon, have ignored.  “We infer that for legislators and Exelon, it’s simply easier to bilk ratepayers than to get Exelon to do the hard but essential business work to find ways to improve its own profitability,” the NEIS letter asserts.

The letter to state officials also corrects an often repeated fallacy that reactors once closed cannot re-open.  This falsehood has often been used by Exelon representatives and state and local officials to urge quick, if imprudent, actions to bailout the nuclear plants.

“Our correspondence with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) confirms that there is no legal obstacle preventing a nuclear utility from petitioning the NRC to re-open a reactor whose operating license has been terminated,” Kraft points out.  “This information may come as a startling revelation to the local and state officials who have been told otherwise,” Kraft notes.

The text of the letter, NEIS’ testimony before the Illinois House Energy Committee and supportive documents it references will be available on the NEIS website by 4 p.m. Central time, Nov. 23, 2016.  Copies can be requested in advance by e-mail.

NEIS concluded its remarks to state officials by stating, “if [legislators] really want renewable energy and energy efficiency to be a part of Illinois’ energy future, have the courage to vote on these issues separately from the issue of the Exelon bailout.  To act otherwise is simply to capitulate to economic extortion – both bad energy policy and bad business practice.”

--30--

NEIS was founded in 1981 to provide the public with credible information on nuclear power, waste, and radiation hazards; and information about the viable energy alternatives to nuclear power.  For more information visit the NEIS website at:  http://www.neis.org

Opposition to SB2814, Amend. 2 -- Exelon's Future Energy Jobs Bill: Legislators, please use the right end of the telescope! (Nov. 16, 2016);

ALTERNATIVE FUNDING MECHANISMS FOR EXELON'S MONEY-LOSING NUCLEAR PLANTS, ver. 10/16;

August 4, 2016 letter from NRC to NEIS.

Wednesday
Nov232016

Reports: Exelon drops coal payments, demand charges in Illinois nuclear bill

Wednesday
Nov232016

Demand charges removed from Illinois nuke bailout bill

As reported by PV Magazine:

The move follows the governor’s office calling such charges “insane”. The provision to eliminate net metering has also been removed, as well as subsidies for coal-fired power plants...

What remains in the bill is the bailout for two nuclear plants in Illinois, but this is limited to 10 years. That this provision remains is not surprising, given that Exelon is not only Commonwealth Edison’s parent company, but the largest operator of nuclear power plants in the United States.

SB 2814 is currently being rammed through a special session of the Illinois Legislature intended for bills that were vetoed by the governor to be reconsidered. However, it is also where bills are often passed with less consideration for details.

Tuesday
Nov222016

Nuke bailout gets new life in Springfield energy bill

Tuesday
Nov222016

Key compromises reached on Illinois energy bill, advocates say

As reported by Kari Lydersen in Midwest Energy News, including a sub-section entitled "Driven by nuclear subsidy."