GreenWorld has covered the unfolding story of the American nuclear power industry’s clamor for new subsidies and bailouts since it started in 2014. Purely as a spectator sport, it might have been entertaining to watch the country’s largest utilities go from proclaiming a “Nuclear Renaissance” a decade ago to peddling the message that “Nuclear Matters.”
But there is just too much at stake to treat it like a game. The utility industry’s ramped-up efforts to block renewable energy and horde billions of our clean energy dollars to prop up old nukes risks both climate and nuclear disaster. Most of these proposals have been failing, thanks to the dogged persistence of grassroots activists and clean energy groups–and, it must be said, the outrageous sticker price of subsidies the industry needs. In fact, just this week, the two-year saga of FirstEnergy’s $8 billion nuclear-plus-coal bailout plan seems to have ended, with what amounts to a consolation gift to a couple FirstEnergy utility companies. Still an outrageous corporate giveaway, but no subsidies for nuclear or coal, even after it seemed like a done deal a few months ago.
But New York Governor Cuomo’s decision in August to award a 12-year, $7.6 billion subsidy package to four aging reactors–including reversing Entergy’s decision to close the FitzPatrick reactor this coming January–has put wind into the industry’s sails. Even that chapter isn’t over, with lawsuits already being filed and several more expected. And environmental groups this week launched a new campaign to get Governor Cuomo to smell the coffee and cancel what will not only be the largest corporate give-away in the state’s history, but relegate clean energy to second-class status behind old nukes. Continue reading →
Thousands joined the nuclear-free, carbon-free contingent at last September’s People’s Climate March in New York City. The unexpectedly large turnout–followed by tens of thousands of comments and petitions to the EPA–helped open the agency’s eyes to first understand our position and then realize it made a lot of sense.
Yesterday, an amazing thing happened. Yes, President Obama released the first real climate action policy in the U.S. ever. But that’s not all. The incredible thing—the one that will be most important in the years to come—is … they got it basically right.
Including on nuclear power. President Obama just made it the policy of the United States that nuclear power is not a viable climate solution. And not just that, but renewable energy can replace nuclear power just like it can replace fossil fuels. Continue reading
Oops. Exelon’s nuclear cat was inadvertently let out of its radioactive bag by the Baltimore Sun today.
The Sun was supposed to run an ad last Thursday in support of the proposed takeover of mid-Atlantic utility Pepco by Exelon. The ad was supposed to show that some sort of local coalition of community groups support the merger.
NEI to Wall Street: Nothing to learn from here; let’s move along now.
Pity those poor, sensitive souls at the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and Exelon’s Nuclear Matters astroturf group. It seems that some people don’t like them, and aren’t afraid to say so. And it’s hurting their feelings.
That’s the message NEI CEO Marvin Fertel sent to Wall Street this week during its annual briefing to the investment community. Continue reading
A Greenpeace blimp hovers near the Vermont Yankee reactor, now coasting toward its permanent shutdown–much to Nuclear Matters’ chagrin.
The very creation by Exelon of Nuclear Matters, an astroturf group devoted to keeping existing nuclear reactors operating at any cost, was a sign of the desperation that characterizes much of the nuclear power industry today, especially those utilities that bet the most on nuclear power several years back and are now faced with the reality that their bets were a fool’s hand. These utilities got played–by an environment in which competing energy sources, especially cleaner renewable energy sources–have become cheaper than the nuclear electricity provided by obsolete 20th century atomic reactors. And that environment is only going to become less hospitable to the nuclear utilities. Continue Reading
Former White House climate “czar” and now Nuclear Matters shill Carol Browner continues to embarrass herself with her ill-informed, although presumably lucrative, rants in support of nuclear power no matter its bevy of environmental, safety and economic failings.
One hopes that, if not Browner herself, at least the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the nation’s most prominent organization supporting environmental candidates in elections, is embarrassed by Browner’s antics. After all, she is chair of the LCV Board, which always has been at least skeptical of nuclear power and certainly has never fallen to the level of uncritical support for the industry espoused by Browner.
Exhibit A is a speech Browner made Friday on Capitol Hill, in a Nuclear Matters-sponsored event for policymakers. Continue reading
Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter because its fundamental argument doesn’t make sense. Not to these marchers, not to the general public, not even to politicians.
Regular readers of GreenWorld know that we have dropped a lot of digital ink writing about Nuclear Matters, the astroturf group launched by Exelon early this year to try to make the case to save the utility’s aging and uneconomic nuclear fleet.
Exelon and the PR firm Sloane and Company that runs the public end of Nuclear Matters have assembled a seemingly potent team of paid-for spokespeople to make the utility’s case: former Senators like Evan Bayh and Judd Gregg; former DOE secretary James Abraham; and the big catch, former EPA Administrator, Obama climate czar, and current League of Conservation Voters board chair Carol Browner. Continue reading