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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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Tuesday
Dec232014

FirstEnergy seeks multi-billion dollar ratepayer bailout in Ohio to prop up dirty, dangerous, and uncompetitive coal burner & atomic reactor

NRC file photo of Davis-Besse atomic reactor in Oak Harbor, OH on Lake Erie shoreAs reported by John Funk in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, in an article entitled "FirstEnergy rate deal to cost customers an extra $3 billion, says Consumers' Counsel," Ohio-based FirstEnergy electric utility is trying to force ratepayers to prop up two uncompetitive plants. The Davis-Besse atomic reactor is located on the shore of Lake Erie east of Toledo (photo, left), and the Sammis coal burner is located on the banks of the Ohio River in southern Ohio. The bailout would cost Ohio ratepayers $182 million per year. Davis-Besse and Sammis can't compete with other sources of electricity on the wholesale market, including wind power.

Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign has published a backgrounder on the Sammis coal plant.

The Ohio Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Committee has published a backgrounder on the Davis-Besse atomic reactor.

Beyond Nuclear plans to testify at public hearings before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) that the problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor should be retired, as planned, on Earth Day (April 22), 2017, the day its 40-year license expires, if not even sooner. This is not only an economic imperative, but also a safety and environmental necessity.

Ohio ratepayers are encouraged to attend the PUCO hearings, and speak out, in defense of their pocket books, as well as their health and environment. The hearings will take place at/on:

Akron: Monday, January 12, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. at the Oliver R. Ocasek Government Center, 161 S. High St.

Toledo: Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. at the Michael V. Disalle  Government Center, County Commissioners Hearing Room, 1st Floor, 640 Jackson St. (Between Huron and Erie Street)

Cleveland: Tuesday, January 20, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. at Cleveland City Hall, Council Chambers, 2d Floor, Room 216, 601 Lakeside Ave.

 

Resisting Davis-Besse's 20-year license extension


Beyond Nuclear has joined with allies (Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario (CEA), Don't Waste MI (DWM), Green Party of Ohio) to resist Davis-Besse's 2017-2037 license extension since late 2010, and put out a backgrounder at that time regarding the reactor's many close calls with disaster.

The intervention expanded to challenging Davis-Besse's severely cracked concrete Shield Building in 2012.

In 2013, Beyond Nuclear (along with CEA, DWM, and Sierra Club Ohio Chapter) challenged Davis-Besse's experimental steam generator replacement, now underway. Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer of Fairewinds Associates, Inc., served as expert witness.

Also in 2013, FirstEnergy admitted the cracking had grown worse, something it (and NRC staff) had adamently denied was possible. In 2014, FirstEnergy admitted that each and every time it freezes at Davis-Besse -- many times each year -- the cracks grow 0.4 to 0.7 inches! The intervening environmental coalition has filed multiple contentions related to these latest FirstEnergy admissions.

Attorney Terry Lodge of Toledo serves as legal counsel for the environmental coalitions engaged in both proceedings.

Given the concrete containment cracking of a Crystal River, FL (permanently closed in 2013), the experimental steam generator replacement of a San Onofre, CA (two reactors permanently closed in 2013), and the age-degradation and economic uncompetitiveness of a Kewaunee, WI (permanently closed in 2013) and Vermont Yankee (permanently closed on 12/29/2014), it is high time for Davis-Besse to permanently shut down!

Wednesday
Oct082014

"IEEFA: FirstEnergy financial condition unlikely to improve"

As reported by FierceEnergy, FirstEnergy has essentially declared war on renewables and efficiency, and is attempting to massively gouge ratepayers, as well as taxpayers, to prop up failing plants like its Davis-Besse atomic reactor. This according to a report by IEEFA -- the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

The article quotes Tom Sanzillo, IEEFA's director of finance:

"FirstEnergy's CEO has called this the 'lost decade. But it has not been a lost decade for other utilities investing in renewables and alternatives to coal,'" Sanzillo said. "FirstEnergy's corporate leadership is lost, and they are asking shareholders, ratepayers and government officials to pay for their management blackout."

Monday
Oct062014

"FirstEnergy: A Major Utility Seeks a Subsidized Turnaround"

IEEFA (the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis) has published a report, FirstEnergy: A Major Utility Seeks a Subsidized Turnaround. It is written by Tom Sanzillo, IEEFA Director of Finance, and Cathy Kunkel, IEEFA Fellow. It includes analysis of FirstEnergy's proposal to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, for a multi-billion dollar ratepayer bailout of FirstEnergy's Sammis and OVEC coal burners, as well as its Davis-Besse atomic reactor.

Monday
Oct062014

"Cleveland-based institute blasts FirstEnergy, its 'financial spiral'"

As reported by the Akron Beacon Journal, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has warned about FirstEnergy's attempts at "regulatory capture and ratepayer bailouts as it struggles to reverse a deepening spiral of debt service and revenue declines."

FirstEnergy is seeking permission from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) for a $3 billion ratepayer bailout, in order to prop up its uncompetitive Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore east of Toledo, and its Sammis coal plant on the Ohio River in southeast Ohio.

Beyond Nuclear is most familiar with FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company's (FENOC) regulatory capture of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Beyond Nuclear, and environmental allies Citizen Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio, have been officially intervening against FENOC's application for a 20-year license extension at the age-degraded, problem-plagued Davis-Besse reactor since Dec. 27, 2010. Every single contention filed by the environmental coalition's legal counsel, Terry Lodge of Toledo, has been vociferously opposed not only by FENOC's team of lawyers, but also by NRC staff and NRC Office of General Counsel. And every single environmental coalition contention has ultimately been rejected by the NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, and/or the NRC Commissioners.

In his July 2013 report "Renaissance in Reverse," Vermont Law School energy economist Mark Cooper listed Davis-Besse as one of the top reactors in the U.S. at near-term risk for permanent shutdown.

Monday
Jun092014

Markey, Burgess Release Report Showing Legal Concerns over Energy Dept.’s Deals with Uranium Enriching Company

U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)A new GAO report, requested by U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass., photo left) and U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), finds that the shuttered U.S. Enrichment Corporation (USEC) facility received hundreds of millions of dollars worth of uranium, while ignoring laws and losing taxpayer money.

The report details a pattern of actions by DOE that kept USEC’s facility in Paducah, Kentucky open and subsidized the development of questionable centrifuge technology at its Ohio facility, even as the company was rated as junk bond status, threatened with de-listing from the New York Stock Exchange, and ultimately spiraled into bankruptcy.

USEC was seeking a $2 billion federal taxpayer-backed loan guarantee for its American Centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in Portsmouth (Piketon), Ohio, but the deal fell apart amidst USEC's financial "meltdown," as well as due to technical difficulties with the technology's development.

“Our government has kept this uranium company on life support, wasting money and flouting the law, even though it was clear that it would end up in bankruptcy. This is the kind of government waste that Americans just don’t understand,” said Senator Markey, who is a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “It’s time to commit this junk technology to the junk bin.”

Some of the uranium involved is associated with supplying replacement tritium for U.S. nuclear weapons.

Sen. Markey has issued a press release, including a summary, and a link to the full 112-page GAO report.