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Subsidies

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.

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Thursday
Jan052017

How Georgia officials pantsed ratepayers over the holidays

Mr. Burns, Nuclear Scrooge of Simpsons infamy, wasn't stingy when it came to handing out "Atomic Fireballs" as a stand in for the radioactive waste the nuclear industry would like the public to "consent" to "swallowing," during a protest outside NRC's "Nuke Waste Con Game" public comment mtg. in Perrysburg, OH, 2013. While Radioactive Man is on the take, re: the Atomic Fireballs, it is Planet Earth, and all future generations of all living things, on the receiving end of the subsidized high-level radioactive waste generation, as at Vogtle 3 & 4 in GA.As reported by Matt Kempner in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial:

...The Georgia Public Service Commission — a body of five officials that most voters don’t even realize existsyanked Georgia consumers’ pants down to their ankles. One thing they exposed in the process: a big gap in the state’s system for regulating a powerful business monopoly.

It took PSC commissioners less than six minutes, without debate, to unanimously slap customers of Georgia Power with responsibility to pay for billions of dollars in cost overruns tied to the for-profit company’s expansion of nuclear Plant Vogtle. The PSC allowed only the barest of reductions in Georgia Power’s profit margins. Even that is a temporary measure compared to decades the company is likely to be pulling in fully caffeinated profits in this arrangement.

But ignore that, because the PSC also ordered that a note be inserted in Georgia Power bills to declare, essentially, what a deal you’re getting.

They decided to include this message because, well, if you just look at your Georgia Power bill you won’t actually notice anything that looks like savings.

In reality, the PSC’s Dec. 20 vote didn’t give Georgia Power and its parent the Southern Company the entire moon, just most of it.

That’s not the way PSC commissioner Stan Wise saw it.

“It’s an extraordinary balance of interests of all the parties,” Wise said during the hearing.

Some others, like consumer advocacy and environmental group leaders, disagreed. But the most troubling issue is how weak of an effort the state put forth to actually do its job... [emphasis added]

Similarly, it took the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners less than a minute to rubber-stamp a 20-year license extension at Fermi 2 in Michigan, on Dec. 23, 2015. The NRC Commissioners "Affirmation Session" took place in an NRC HQ building largely devoid of human beings -- everyone had already taken off for the holiday break. Nevermind that Fermi 2 is a Fukushima Daiichi twin desighed General Electric Mark I boiling water reactor. We've all seen what THOSE are capable of!

And the radioactive Grinches who stole Christmas, at the Vogtle 3 & 4 new reactors construction site in Waynesboro, GA, and at Fermi 2, laughed all the way to the bank.

Friday
Nov182016

Headlines from today's Midwest Energy News

UTILITIES: Ohio-based FirstEnergy continues to seek ratepayer support in order to boost its credit rating. (Midwest Energy News)

REGULATION: Researchers say Ohio businesses, residents and industries saved $15 billion on electricity between 2011 and 2015 due to the state’s de-regulated market. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

COAL: An Ohio utility is considering closing two coal-fired plants in the southern portion of the state, citing “market-driven financial challenges.” (Dayton Daily News)

GRID: Consumer advocates say grid-reliability upgrades by AEP are not justified by the costs imposed on ratepayers. (Columbus Dispatch)

OIL AND GAS: The Sierra Club files an antitrust complaint with federal regulators against a proposed natural gas pipeline through Ohio and southeast Michigan, alleging it will raise prices above competitive rates. (Detroit News)

[Beyond Nuclear has helped lead an environmental coalition for six years, seeking to block FirstEnergy Nuclear's license extension from 2017 to 2037 at its problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Great Lakes shore. FirstEnergy has long sought massive bailouts -- at ratepayer expense -- from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. But the money grab has largely failed, thanks to ongoing resistance by groups like Sierra Club, Ohio Environmental Council, Environmental Defense Fund, and public interest and ratepayer advocacy organizations (such as AARP). FirstEnergy has secured subsidies for transmission upgrades. But its nuclear and coal lobbyists continue to try to re-regulate the electricity market in OH -- even though they demanded de-regulation in the first place, a decade or more ago -- and were rewarded massive "stranded cost" bailouts at that time, again at public expense. All this nuclear lobbying, simply because Davis-Besse can't compete with cheaper sources of electricity, including wind power.

The same coalition of which Beyond Nuclear is a part have also challenged the Fermi nuclear power plant in southeast MI for many years. It is owned by Detroit Edison (DTE). DTE owns/operates Fermi 2 -- a troubled Fukushima Daiichi twin design -- and proposes a new reactor, Fermi 3. DTE is also behind the NEXUS fracked gas pipeline.

Fermi and Davis-Besse are visible with the naked eye, one from the other, across the waters of Lake Erie's very shallow (average 23-24 feet deep) western basin.]

]

Sunday
Nov132016

OH agrees to let FirstEnergy Nuclear impose $132.5 million a year surcharge on its 1.9 million customers

"Burning money" graphic art by Gene Case, Avening AngelsTom Henry of the Toledo Blade has Tweeted out his column on the ratepayer-funded bailout, now approved by the State of Ohio -- to the tune of $132.5 million per year -- of FirstEnergy Nuclear's dangerously age-degraded Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore. Beyond Nuclear has led opposition to Davis-Besse's 2017-2037 license extension since 2010. Davis-Besse has had more close calls with catastrophe than any other U.S. reactor, and -- FirstEnergy admits -- has had a severely cracked (and ever worsening) concrete containment, which could well fail to contain catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity in the event of a meltdown.

Beyond Nuclear has also worked alongside Sierra Club, Ohio Environmental Council, Environmental Defense Fund, AARP, Public Citizen, ratepayer advocacy groups, and many others, to oppose requests from FirstEnergy to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) for ratepayer-funded bailouts of $4 to 8 billion (yes, with a B). FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) ultimately put the kabosh on this larger attempted ratepayer robbery, but the State of Ohio has just blessed the burdening of its own citizens to the tune of $132.5 million/year, nonetheless.

Saturday
Nov122016

National bailout of U.S. atomic reactors based on NY approach would cost $280 billion by 2030

"Burning money" image, by Gene Case of Avenging Angels, was featured on The Nation's 2003 cover regarding the "Nuclear Power Relapse"Tim Judson, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), has published a report entitled "Too Big to Bail Out: The Economic Costs of a National Nuclear Power Subsidy." Judson was joined on a press conference by former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Peter Bradford (listen to the recording here). Their analysis made clear that: nuclear power is not a viable climate strategy; more than half of U.S. reactors are expected to be uneconomical by 2020; and that this huge infusion of public funding for old nuclear plants would crowd out renewables. Meanwhile, in New York, the StopTheCuomoTax.org -- No Nuclear Bailout campaign has, most recently, issued an action alert, flown airplane banners, and erected billboards, to protest against the State of NY's agreement to pay $35 million of public money, if the transfer (from Entergy to Exelon) of the age-degraded, economically failing FitzPatrick reactor in upstate NY on the Lake Ontario shore is not finalized for certain reasons -- but state officials won't divulge what those reasons are (as reported by Syracuse.com). The campaign is now calling for New Yorkers to come to Albany on Thurs., Nov. 17th, to speak out at the Public Service Commission. More

Friday
Sep302016

DOE Task Force on the Future of Nuclear Power draft report calls for massive national subsidies to prop up dying industry

In Sept., 2016 the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, Task Force on the Future of Nuclear Power, published its Draft Report. The report calls for massive nationalized subsidies, to prop up dirty, dangerous/age-degraded, expensive/un-competitive, atomic reactors across the U.S.

[This Task Force report was cited in NIRS Nov. 2016 report, Too Big to Bail Out. The NIRS report, by its executive director, Tim Judson, estimates that a New York-style bail out, implemented across the U.S., could cost American ratepayers and/or taxpayers, a whopping $280 billion.]