The nuclear industry has been heavily subsidized throughout its 50+-year history in the U.S. It continues to seek the lion's share of federal funding since it cannot otherwise afford to expand.
As reported by Ted Caddell in RTO Insider's article "Merchant Generators Lead Opposition to FirstEnergy-Ohio Settlement," when it comes to "picking winners and losers," Beyond Nuclear has some diverse allies in opposing a risky 20-year license extension at the problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor, when it comes compliments of an outrageous, multi-billion dollar ratepayer bailout:
Talen joined Dynegy in promising to contest the deal in court if it is approved by the commission.
“As you are aware [PPL, one of Talen’s predecessors] led successful legal challenges in the federal courts against generation subsidy initiatives in New Jersey and Maryland,” Talen spokesman Todd Martin said Thursday. Before PPL’s generation assets were spun off to form Talen, the company won court rulings voiding PPAs obtained by Competitive Power Ventures for two merchant plants. (See CPV Md. Plant Goes Forward Despite FERC Ruling.)
“We believe states with competitive electricity markets must let those markets operate without interference or subsidies, and should not in effect be picking winners and losers,” Martin said.
P3 President Glen Thomas said PUCO staff’s “about face” represents “corporate welfare at its worst.”
“Forcing customers to buy overpriced electricity from uncompetitive plants to deliver windfall profits to FirstEnergy is a holiday offering that only the Grinch could support,” said Trey Addison of AARP Ohio.
“This bailout would leave Ohio locked into outdated and costly coal and nuclear plants, when we should instead be working to transition to a cleaner and more competitive energy system,” said Shannon Fisk, managing attorney with Earthjustice. Fisk was involved in settlement negotiations on behalf of the Sierra Club but withdrew in protest just before Thanksgiving.
Also weighing in was anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear, which blasted any deal that would result in the continued operations of FirstEnergy’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant. “The ratepayers of Ohio would be gouged additional billions of dollars on their electricity bills to prop up the uncompetitive Davis-Besse atomic reactor, effectively being forced to fund 20 more years of radioactive Russian roulette at the problem-plagued atomic reactor,” Beyond Nuclear spokesman Kevin Kamps.
As revealed on a radio interview hosted by Harvey Wasserman of Solartopia fame, Shannon Fisk of Earthjustice indicated that Sierra Club will continue to challenge the PUCO staff-FirstEnergy sweetheart deal, as by urging the PUCO Commissioners to not approve it. As with Dynegy and Talen, further legal action is also under consideration.
Beyond Nuclear blasts billion dollar Davis-Besse bailout as "Faustian fission" due to cracked containment risks
Beyond Nuclear has published a media release in response to FirstEnergy and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Staff announcing a settlement agreement for an eight-year, nearly $4 billion ratepayer bailout to prop up the utility's uncompetitive Davis-Besse atomic reactor, as well as a number of coal burning power plants. (See the Word version of Beyond Nuclear's media release, for live links.)
Davis-Besse had dodged more radioactive bullets over the past 40 years than any other single reactor in the U.S. But will it be so lucky for another 20-years of radioactive Russian roulette on the Great Lakes shore?
In this high-stakes, big money "game" of "Faustian fission," Mephistopheles could return in the form of a meltdown.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is poised to rubber-stamp the 2017-2037 license extension. Beyond Nuclear has helped lead the grassroots resistance against that, for the past five years.
Davis-Besse has the concrete containment fatal fracturing of a Crystal River, FL; the risky, experimental steam generator replacement of a San Onofre, CA; and the inability to compete of a Kewaunee, WI, Pilgrim, MA, and FitzPatrick, NY. So why is it still operating?! Opponents hope to accomplish "a Vermont Yankee," and "a Gentilly, Quebec," and force Davis-Besse's shutdown, before it melts down.
Beyond Nuclear joins PowerDC at DC city hall rally to urge "No Deal!" on Exelon Nuclear's takeover of Pepco
On Sept. 17th, Beyond Nuclear staff joined with allies in the PowerDC coalition at the Wilson Building -- housing the Executive Office of the Mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser -- to urge her to not cave to lobbyists' pressure from Exelon Nuclear of Chicago. The Washington City Paper and the Washington Post (the latter with a Nuclear Energy Institute, NEI, ad in the center of the article) have reported on the rally. (Exelon Nuclear is the largest commercial nuclear power utility member of NEI; Christopher M. Crane, the President and CEO of Exelon Nuclear, is also the Chairman of NEI).
Last month, the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) unanimously rejected Exelon's takeover of Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco, a ruling Mayor Bowser said she supported at that time. DC was the only jurisdiction to reject the merger. DE, MD, NJ, and VA, as well as FERC and DOJ, have already approved it. However, a single jurisdictional rejection nixes the deal for all jurisdictions.
But, Exelon appears unwilling to take no for an answer.
Since the DC PSC rejection last month, Exelon (and Pepco, the shareholders of which would make a killing on the acquisition) lobbyists have taken to back room deal making, as well as a high-priced ad campaign. In addition, the two companies will formally appeal the DC PSC decision by the Sept. 28th deadline, and have also threatened a lawsuit.
It is clear that, once Exelon would take over Pepco, renewable energy and energy efficiency advances, built over years at Pepco, would be reversed as unwanted competition to Exelon's atomic reactors. Rates would be raised, to funnel the money back to IL, to prop up five dirty, dangerous, and uncompetitive reactors there. And DC would lose yet more local control -- something District residents and decision makers already suffer, given DC's non-voting status in Congress, as well as federal oversight on basic policies.
Beyond Nuclear staff handed out action cards, urging folks contact Mayor Bowser, and also providing a link to exposés by Nuclear Energy Information Service of Chicago, a 34 year watchdog, on Exelon's nuclear misdeeds in IL and beyond.
PowerDC has a webform where you can take action, urging Mayor Bowser and DC City Council Members to stand firm, and not buckle under Exelon Nuclear's lobbying pressure or threats of a lawsuit. Not only DC residents and taxpayers should weigh in with DC political leaders, but also the many millions of people who visit the nation's capital each year -- all of whom will pay, monetarily and with their health and safety, if Exelon's dirty, dangerous, and expensive atomic reactor fleet become the driver for Mid-Atlantic electric power decision making!
Speakers at the rally -- attended by a couple hundred people -- included:
- Judi Jones, ANC 4B
- Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3)
- Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6)
- Councilmember Elissa Silverman (At-Large)
- Delvone Michael, DC Working Families
- Pastor Earl D. Trent, Florida Ave Baptist Church
- Andy Shallal, DC business leader & Owner, Busboys & Poets
- Anthony Lorenzo Green, Chair, ANC 8B
- Jim McGrath, Tenants Association of DC
- Akili West, DC SUN & Ward 8 Solar Co-Op
- John Capozzi, Pepco Shareholder
- Mike Tidwell, Chesapeake Climate Action Network
- Hudson Brown & Katie Bryden, American University
- John Chelan, Ward 3 Democrats & DC Public Power
- Keshini Ladduwahetty, DC for Democracy
- Rob Robinson, Grid 2.0 / DC CUB
- Dana Sleeper, MDVSEIA
- Randy Speck, Chair, ANC 3G