As reported by Kari Lydersen of Midwest Energy News in an article entitled "Illinois report says Exelon nuclear straits not so dire," a massive bailout of $580 million per year at ratepayer expense may not be justified. Chicago-based Exelon, the country's single largest nuclear utility, has lobbied the Illinois legislature for the hand out, in order to prop up five (of 11 still operating) atomic reactors in the state, at risk of closure due to their inability to economically compete on the open market. This report was mandated by a legislative resolution rammed through over public objections earlier this year due to Exelon lobbyist pressure.
David Kraft, Executive Director of Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), was quoted:
“It’s only as bad as the state losing any other large employer...With proper response and planning, Illinois can get through this, and be stronger and further ahead in developing a true long-term energy plan than it otherwise would have done.”
Kraft said nuclear critics are still furious about the process resulting from the House resolution, which he characterized as “panic-peddling” driven by “half-truths.” He was upset there was no public input or oversight involved in the agencies’ report, but he is encouraged by the result nonetheless.
“Even though Exelon did their best to convince everyone that the sky is falling here in Illinois,” he said, “Even a poorly mandated, non-funded, abstract-model-heavy analysis could not reach that conclusion.”
See the map of Nuclear Illinois, prepared by NEIS (above, left). To see a larger format version of the map, and to learn more about Nuclear Illinois, visit NEIS's website section devoted to the topic.
David Kraft is again quoted:
David Kraft, director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, a Chicago-based watchdog group, said Wednesday that given that the report amounts to little more than free lobbying materials for Exelon, he felt the state agencies did a good job.
"We have been critical of this pseudo-process from its inception, pointing out early on its incomplete investigative scope, failure to provide for public comment, and lack of funding and resources to do a proper study that would yield valid results," he said.
Both David Kraft of NEIS, and Tim Judson of NIRS, have pointed out that the IL state agencies' report focuses on the negative economic impacts of five atomic reactors closing, while ignoring the negative economic impacts of the $580 million/year ratepayer bailout mentioned above, as well as another $560 million/year subsidy sought by Exelon via PJM Independent System Operator market rule changes in favor of nuclear power.
David Kraft also points out that while Exelon brags about its reliability during last year's Polar Vortex, nuclear power's summer vulnerabilities -- to heat waves, droughts, and thermal discharge limitations. He pointed to NEIS's backgrounder "It's the Water, Stupid!", as well as David Lochbaum of UCS's "Got Water?" and "Nuclear Heat," as documenting these vulnerabilities.
Even the conservative Chicago Sun Times editorial board has spoken out against the massive bailouts sought by Entergy, at ratepayer expense, in light of the IL state agency reports showing clearly that nuclear power plant shutdowns would not be the end of the world.