Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2016-2017
In August, the state of New York approved a $7.6 billion bailout of the nuclear giants Exelon, Entergy and the French firm Electricite de France to keep the state’s old reactors—Nine Mile Point I & II; Ginna; and FitzPatrick—on life support. If the electricity market was a free one, nuclear power would have folded long ago, but is being propped up by public-funded bailouts nationwide. A 10-year, $2.34 billion rate bailout for Exelon became law in Illinois Dec. 7, and industry lobbyists are pushing bailout proposals in Connecticut, Ohio, and elsewhere. Some of the lobbyists represent actual nuclear reactor firms, and others are from “astroturf” organizations that pretend to be grass-roots, public interest groups, but are actually industry-funded propaganda outlets slyly promoting “safe, clean nuclear.”
Prior to approving the subsidy in New York, Exelon alone spent $430,000 lobbying in the state, a small investment considering the $7.6 billion return. A draft report of Department of Energy recommendations puts future national taxpayer funding of nuclear power at about the same level, per megawatt hour, as the New York deal. A Nuclear Information Resource Service (NIRS) report projects that the cost of New York-style subsidies, if applied nationwide, would be about $280 billion by 2030.
The New York bailout is already being challenged through a lawsuit by Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and Goshen Green Farms, LLC. The suit argues that insufficient time was given for public comment on the taxpayer-funded subsidy and that “false or misleading statements” characterized nuclear reactors as “zero emissions,” systems that release no greenhouse gases.
NIRS is proactively opposing these bailouts through citizen lobbying before states cave in to the nuclear industry. You can send a letter to the president-elect and to every governor at nirs.org. Click on Alert Archive under the Action Center tab, and find “Stop the $100 Billion Nuclear Bailout.”
—Greenworld, Oct. 14; & Politico, July 13; Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Nov. 30, 2016