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.



Yet another long overdue atomic reactor permanent shutdown: Fort Calhoun, NE switched off for good today!

Floodwaters on the Missouri River in spring and summer of 2011 lapped against safety significant buildings at Fort Calhoun atomic reactor in Nebraska, upstream of the state's largest city, Omaha.As reported by Cole Epley in the Omaha World-Herald, the Omaha Public Power District's (OPPD) Fort Calhoun atomic reactor permanently shutdown today, four and a half months after the nuclear utility's management proposed it, and the utility's board of directors voted in agreement.

Although OPPD emphasized Fort Calhoun's inability to compete with less expensive sources of electricity (including Nebraska's abundant wind power) as the reason for its decision, Fort Calhoun has also suffered serious safety problems for the past several years.

This included a close call with catastrophe, during historic floods on the adjacent Missouri River in the spring and summer of 2011. (This earned the atomic reactor the nickname "Port" Calhoun, as flood waters lapped against safety related systems, structures, and components! See the photo, above left.) It also included a fire, that smoldered within the plant for days, remarkably without response, also in 2011. The consequent two and half year shutdown cost Nebraskans several hundred million dollars (Fort Calhoun is publicly owned).

As soon as the irradiated fuel is removed from the core, Fort Calhoun can no longer suffer a reactor meltdown, by definition. In addition, no more high-level radioactive waste will be generated. That is the good news. The bad news is that the irradiated nuclear fuel already generated there, since 1974 -- currently stored in the indoor "wet" storage pool, and outdoor dry casks -- must be isolated from the living environment for the next million years.


Lawsuit seeks to halt $7.6 billion mega-bailout for failing NY nuclear plants

Thanks to Scott Stapf for the Tweet headline above, alerting us to the breaking news in the New York Times, that:

A collection of energy companies and trade associations have filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse a decision by the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to subsidize several struggling upstate nuclear plants, arguing that the state overstepped federal authority to regulate energy prices.

The suit, filed Wednesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, comes a little more than two months after Mr. Cuomo announced a deal to provide hundreds of millions of dollars per year in subsidies to buttress the bottom lines of four upstate plants. The subsidies were included in an order from the Public Service Commission, whose chairwoman, Audrey Zibelman, is named as the lead defendant...

This news comes just one week after Public Citizen filed a legal challenge at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), opposing the NY nuclear power subsidy, at ratepayer expense, as well as the related sale of the FitzPatrick atomic reactor by Entergy to Exelon. RTO Insider reported on the Public Citizen lawsuit.


NYPIRG: Take 30 seconds to save $7.6 billion [Stop the Cuomo Tax -- No Nuclear Bailout]

Here is the latest action alert for New Yorkers from NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group) re: the Stop the Cuomo Tax/No Nuclear Bailout campaign:

New Yorkers know that Governor Cuomo’s plan to bail out old, unprofitable nuclear plants is a big mistake. If the governor gets his way, he’ll take $7.6 billion from hard working New Yorkers and hand it over to a highly profitable Chicago nuclear company. We should be investing in sustainable energy, not handing out giant subsidies for aging, unsafe nuclear plants.

You can help change the governor’s mind with a quick 30-second phone call to let his office know where you stand. It’s simple. Just follow these instructions:

  1. Call 866-772-3843

  2. Tell Governor Cuomo's office your name and where you live, then say:
    "As a constituent, I oppose the Cuomo tax on New Yorkers' utility bills and urge Governor Cuomo to stop his proposed $7.6 billion bailout of unprofitable nuclear plants. His mistaken plan would take billions of dollars out of New Yorkers’ pockets to subsidize aging, unsafe, nuclear plants owned by a highly profitable Chicago-based company. Instead, Governor Cuomo should invest in energy efficiency and truly clean renewable alternatives like solar and wind while saving consumers money."

  3. Click the [following link] so we can count the number of calls delivered! I MADE THE CALL

We know that when New Yorkers come together to make their voices heard, we can make real positive change for the people of this state. Making the call today is a good first step.

Thanks for joining us in this movement to Stop the Cuomo Tax.

Blair Horner


Karl Grossman: “How Cuomo’s $7.6 Billion Nuclear Bail-out Can Impede Wind and Solar”

Karl GrossmanInvestigative journalist Karl Grossman (photo, left) -- a Beyond Nuclear board of directors member -- delivered a presentation to Long Island Metro Business Action entitled  “How Cuomo’s $7.6 Billion Nuclear Bail-out Can Impede Wind and Solar." A link to the written presentation is provided here.

Karl has also posted the presentation at his own blog, linked here.


NYPIRG: Take a look at this momentum [re: Stop the Cuomo Tax/No Nuclear Bailout]

Below is an Oct. 14th update from NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Group) re:

We're just getting started with our statewide push to Stop the Cuomo Tax and end the nuclear bailout that would cost New Yorkers nearly $8 billion in higher electricity rates. But already we've seen incredible momentum out of the gate. This week organizers staged a protest outside of Cuomo's parade for Columbus Day, and we're planning more events to increase our visibility in the coming days...

Already we're gaining a lot of traction around our campaign with thousands of you signed up to stop the Cuomo Tax. Check out some of the media coverage from the last weeks:

Journal News: Cuomo Wrong on Nuclear Plant Bailout

New York’s nuclear bailout is merely the latest example of business getting off scot-free while taxpayers pick up multi-billion-dollar tabs. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to bail out the aging and money-losing Ginna, FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point nuclear plants, some of America’s oldest nuclear plants owned by Exelon and Entergy, with nearly $8 billion of New Yorkers’ hard-earned money (and another $2.8 billion if energy prices fall).

Gannett/The Journal News: Upstate nuclear plants' bailout among biggest in NY history

The tab for one of the largest corporate bailouts in the state's history will be picked up by every New Yorker with an electric bill.

Politico New York: National Advocacy Group Joins Fight Against Cuomo's Nuclear Subsidy

New York Public News Service: Activists Oppose Ratepayer Bailout of Nuke Plants

"Nuclear power is not a clean nor renewable source," he said. "It's dirty and it's dangerous, and it's very expensive."

Platts: New York Nuclear Plant Subsidies Fuel Controversy

Electric Light and Power: Activists oppose FitzPatrick nuclear plant sale to Exelon

Gannett News-Coalition forms to fight NY nuclear bailout.

Blair Horner, NYPIRG's legislative director, said ratepayers shouldn't be asked to pick up the tab for the aging plants, particularly as the state and nation shift toward renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

"This is like subsidizing the horse-and-buggy industry while Henry Ford is rolling cars off the assembly line," Horner said at a news conference Wednesday near the state Capitol.

New York Daily News: Cuomo plan to add nuclear plants may cost Con Edison customers extra $705M

Politico New York: Advocacy groups launch statewide campaign to fight $1B nuclear subsidy

YNN/State of Politics: Coalition Forms To Oppose Utility Surcharge

CNHI Newgroup: Nuclear plan gets backlash from left, right

Newsday: Groups: Cuomo to hike LI utility rates to aid upstate

Capital Tonight segment: Campaign Launched to Oppose Utility Tax.

NY Public Radio: Groups Call Nuke Plant Bailout a 'Tax' on Ratepayers

Capitol Pressroom: Eric Weltman and Russ Haven