Tag Archives: nuclear subsidies

New York Just Proved Why Bailing Out Nuclear Power Is a Bad Idea

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New York approved a $7.6-$10 billion subsidy to prop up uncompetitive nuclear power plants–twice as much money as it will take for the state to achieve a goal to generate 50% of its electricity with renewables by 2030.

Yesterday, New York became the first state to adopt a policy to subsidize aging, uncompetitive nuclear reactors. The state’s Public Service Commission, which regulates utility companies, passed a Clean Energy Standard that combines a 50% renewable energy standard by 2030 with massive subsidies to prop up uneconomical reactors. (You can download the whole PSC order here.)

Prepare yourself for loud celebrations from the nuclear industry, heaping praise on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and calling for other states to emulate the Empire State with lucrative incentives to insulate the nuclear industry from competition and to postpone closures of uneconomical reactors.

We hate to throw water on the parade, but the move actually proves what a bad idea it is to provide subsidies like this to prop up nuclear power. Let’s jump to the punch line, then we can fill in the blanks: New York just committed to spending twice as much money propping up old nuclear reactors than on new renewable energy, to get 2-3 times less energy from nuclear as renewables in the end.

Spend more, get less electricity, get more carbon emissions–and get a lot of radioactive waste. Continue reading

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IEA “experts” not particularly expert

greenpeacevieaforecastsThe International Energy Agency (IEA) is composed of 29 countries, which are required to be members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The agency was founded in response to the oil crisis of 1973-74 “to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets,” but has since expanded its mission “to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries and beyond.”

The IEA publishes the annual World Energy Outlook and purports to be the world’s most expert and influential organization on energy issues, or, as the IEA itself puts it, “It is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative statistics, analysis and recommendations.”

In short, you’d think they know what they’re talking about.

Two items this week indicate they don’t.  Continue reading

Guest Post: Nuclear Waste Fund: a little break for some free lunch

These doors are now closed. This entrance to Yucca Mountain won't be used for radioactive waste.

These doors are now closed. This entrance to Yucca Mountain won’t be used for radioactive waste.

Note: This guest post was written by Doug Koplow of EarthTrack.net, the nation’s foremost expert on subsidies for nuclear power and all other energy sources. You can follow Doug’s writings at earthtrack.net/blog.

With no plan for a long-term nuclear waste repository in process, the nuclear and utility industries argued that continued collection of the nuclear waste fund fee was unwarranted.  Litigation against the US Department of Energy was led by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, and of course, by the well-funded lobby group, the Nuclear Energy Institute.  The DC Circuit Court ruled in the industry’s favor, and DOE lost its appeal.  As a result, collection of the nuclear waste fee (running about $750 million per year) ceased in May 2014. Continue reading

EPA’s proposed carbon rules provide subsidies to uneconomic, aging, dangerous nuclear reactors

The fastest and cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions is more renewables and energy efficiency. This city in Japan shows what can be done....

The fastest and cheapest ways to reduce carbon emissions are more renewables and energy efficiency. This city in Japan shows points the path….

The Environmental Protection Agency’s long-awaited proposed rules to attain carbon emission reductions from existing power plants was released today.

We’ve noticed some environmental groups already have sent out mass e-mails urging their members to support the proposal. Not so fast. Very few government rule proposals deserve unqualified support and this proposal is no exception.

Indeed, its 645-page text includes some–although oddly worded and wholly unnecessary–support for nuclear power. The support is not only unnecessary, it would be counterproductive to building a clean, carbon-free energy system.   Continue reading

Nuclear Newsreel, Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The existing Turkey Point facility consists of two reactors, two gas/oil plants and one combined cycle natural gas plant. But FPL is considering adding two new reactors to the site.

The existing Turkey Point facility consists of two reactors, two gas/oil plants and one combined cycle natural gas plant. But FPL is considering adding two new reactors to the site.

A hearing is being held today in Florida on whether FPL should be allowed to build two new reactors at its Turkey Point site near Miami. The hearing is for a state permit, FPL would still need a license from the NRC to be able to build. And FPL has said it hasn’t decided yet whether it wants to build the reactors, which would be expected to cost about $18 Billion. An FPL spokesperson made the astonishing claim that the reactors would save $170 billion in fuel costs over natural gas over the next 60 years; we guess FPL alone has the crystal ball that can predict natural gas prices over that period, not to mention its certainty that the unbuilt reactors would receive a license extension to operate that long.

And, of course, the fuel cost savings over solar, wind and energy efficiency, the alternatives being promoted by Turkey Point opponents in The Sunshine State, would be a negative number. Then there’s that little matter of climate change, with Miami being one of the most vulnerable cities in the U.S. to climate-induced disaster.

Continue reading