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 →
FirstEnergy’s decrepit Davis-Besse reactor has been one of the least reliable reactors in the nation, with a long history of serious safety problems.
The two largest nuclear power utilities, Exelon and Entergy, aren’t the only ones looking for ratepayer bailouts for uneconomic power plants. Add Ohio’s FirstEnergy to the list, which is seeking subsidies that the Ohio Consumers Counsel puts at $3 Billion to keep its Davis-Besse reactor and some old, decrepit coal plants operating.
The portion for Davis-Besse alone is at least $171 million/year and NIRS estimates that the actual price tag may be $225 million/year above the market rate for electricity. Continue reading
SCANA has applied for its seventh rate increase for construction of its two new Summer reactors. As you can see from this photo taken May 22, 2014, they’re a long way from being finished.
The EPA’s proposed new carbon rules have dominated the news this week, but there has been more happening–especially on the clean energy front. So let’s get right into this week’s Nuclear Newsreel…
Except that the proposed rules’ effect on nuclear power continues to be an issue and two new articles discuss how these rules, if finalized as they are currently written, would benefit the nuclear industry. Continue reading
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.