With the failure of last decade’s nuclear “renaissance” leading to dismal prospects for expansion, and rising operating costs–including modest and insufficient post-Fukushima improvements–making a large number of existing reactors uneconomic in the deregulated marketplace, the nuclear power industry over the past couple of years has focused on its sheer survival. This means bailouts in one form or another. Continue reading
As we’ve warned several times over the past few weeks, the nuclear industry is not taking the threat of more reactor shutdowns lying down–not simply because many of their reactors can’t compete against renewables and gas anymore. With the recent formation of the front group Nuclear Matters, which exists only to defend operating reactors and appears to be funded solely by Exelon; in numerous and clearly coordinated op-eds placed in key media outlets in Exelon and Entergy’s service areas; in an increasing number of public appearances by top executives from nuclear and fossil fuel-dominated utilities; and in an unknown number of backroom lobbying visits, the nuclear industry is waging a full-press campaign to hang on to its aging dinosaurs as long as possible.
That campaign intensified this week, beginning on Earth Day, with a new and more explicit assault on renewables, some revised framing of their arguments, and at least some new details on the kind of bailouts and market-rigging the industry wants to support existing nuclear reactors at ratepayer expense.
Fortunately, the wind power industry, at least, has begun to fight back. Anti-nuclear activists need to do the same.