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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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Tuesday
May122015

Beyond Nuclear stands in solidarity with DC ANCs & City Council members against Exelon takeover of Pepco

Logo courtesy of Public Citizen's Energy ProgramBeyond Nuclear stood in solidarity with Advisory Neighborhood Council representatives from almost all the wards in the city, as well as three City Council members, who spoke out at a press conference on the steps of city hall against Exelon Nuclear's takeover of the local utility Pepco. The press conference was supported by PowerDC, a coalition opposing the merger, due to the DC ratepayer robbery that would ensure, to prop up Exelon's failing atomic reactors in Illinois, as well as bolster their underfunded decommissioning. Speakers also pointed to Exelon's dismal record of declaring war against renewables (it was kicked out of the American Wind Energy Association for lobbying against the federal Wind Production Tax Credit -- while simultaneously, and hypocritically, taking advantage of the subsidy in its own wind division!); D.C., for its part, has visionary, progressive energy efficiency and renewable energy policies on its books, which would very likely be attacked if Exelon takes over Pepco.  Public Citizen took photos at the event.

The speakers, and PowerDC, are calling on DC residents and businesses to take action, to contact DC's Mayor, Muriel Bowser, as well as the city council, to speak out against Exelon's ill-advised takeover of Pepco. As reported by Greenpeace's Connor Gibson at an excellent article on the issue at HuffPost, public comments are needed by May 26th. Maryland's Public Service Commission, meanwhile, is to announce its ruling on the Exelon-Pepco merger this Friday, May 15th. If any Pepco jurisdiction rejects the takeover, the deal is blocked.

Thursday
Apr302015

Both Chicago dailies editorialize against Exelon Nuclear money grab at ratepayer expense

Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times editorial boards have come out against Exelon Nuclear's attempt to gouge Illinois ratepayers to the tune of hundreds of millions per year, to prop up allegedly failing atomic reactors. "Allegedly," because, as both papers point out, Exelon refuses to open its books to the public.

Both editorial boards come at the problem from the perspective of free market capitalism. Which is fine -- no other energy industry has enjoyed more public subsidization than the nuclear power industry, which makes Exelon's latest bailout demand all the more objectionable.

As the Sun-Times so wisely understands, "Renewable energy is the future, and the state should be making that a priority, not nuclear plants."

After all, while Germany's Conservative parties may have belatedly, and reluctantly, agreed to the nuclear phase out for political survival post-Fukushima, they do not see the domestic expansion and export of renewable energy as a charitable undertaking. They see it as a huge money making opportunity on the international marketplace.

It's high time for the U.S., and states like Illinois, to either wake up and smell the coffee, or get left in the dust.

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.