Nuclear Costs

Estimates for new reactor construction costs continue to sky-rocket. Conservative estimates range between $6 and $12 billion per reactor but Standard & Poor's predicts a continued rise. The nuclear power industry is lobbying for heavy federal subsidization including unlimited loan guarantees but the Congressional Budget Office predicts the risk of default will be well over 50 percent, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Beyond Nuclear opposes taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies for the nuclear energy industry.


Entries by admin (389)


Trump orders Perry to stop coal, nuclear retirements

This breaking news is reported by Utility Dive. It comes on the heels of a scoop by Bloomberg that "Trump Prepared Lifeline for Money-Losing Coal [and Nuclear] Power Plants."

Public Citizen's Energy Program director, Tyson Slocum, has issued a statement.

(Jessica Corbett at CommonDreams quoted not only Public Citizen, but also Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists expressing strong objections to Trump's outrageous abuse of authority.)

If enacted, this bailout of some 80 coal and nuclear power plants in a 13-state region could cost the public $8 billion per year in dirty, dangerous, and expensive energy surcharges on their electric bills and/or income taxes.

AP reported on May 29th that energy lobbyist Jeff Miller is the carbon-breathing, radioactive swamp monster mutating U.S. energy markets for his client FirstEnergy, with his intimate access at the highest levels of the Trump administration. Miller is an old, close personal friend of Energy Secretary Rick Perry -- Miller served as Perry's campaign manager in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. And Miller sat down for a private dinner with Trump himself several weeks ago, with the president immediately stating publicly afterwards that this coal/nuclear bailout was a top priority for his administration.

Bloomberg also reported on May 29th:

Miller’s lobbying firm has already chalked up some wins.

Utility giant Southern Co., which hired Miller in March 2017 to lobby the Energy Department and others on nuclear energy issues, was awarded $3.7 billion in conditional loan guarantees for its troubled nuclear reactor project in Georgia.


Trump Prepares Lifeline for Money-Losing Coal Power [and Nuclear] Plants


Former Perry Adviser Is FirstEnergy’s Secret Weapon in U.S. Bailout

As reported by Ari Natter in Bloomberg.

See also AP's coverage, in next entry below.


AP: "New swamp: Ex-Perry adviser lobbies for energy firm bailout"

As reported by the Associated Press.

President Trump's and Energy Secretary Rick Perry's keen interest in doing legal -- or not so legal -- acrobatics, to accommodate FirstEnergy's bailout request comes into crystal clear focus, once the role of lobbyist Jeff Miller is revealed.

Miller ran Perry's failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination. He's been paid $330,000 in just the past year, to lobby his former boss (and longtime close friend) Rick Perry, as well as Donald J. Trump himself at a private dinner.

If approved by the Trump administration, FirstEnergy's request for an emergency bailout -- under an obscure section of the Federal Power Act usually reserved for wartime emergencies and natural disasters -- could cost the public $8 billion per year, to prop up 80 coal and nuclear power plants in the PJM grid, a 13 state region that includes Washington, D.C.

The article quotes Dick Munson from Environmental Defense Fund, and Tim Judson from Nuclear Information and Resource Service.


Competition drives nuclear industry to look for millions in subsidies 

As reported by Steven Mufson in the Washington Post.

The article quotes Tim Judson of NIRS:

“There is no doubt that renewables have also received financial supports, through tax and investment credits, etc.,” Tim Judson, of the Nuclear Information Research Service, said in an email. “But the federal incentives have been far less consistent and are phasing out, whereas supports for nuclear are perpetual and now increasing.”

Judson said, “What we are debating now is whether old, uneconomical generators should be subsidized when new technology has become more viable.”

Jeff Tittel of Sierra Club was also quoted:

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, argued that there was little justification for the subsidy. PSEG earned $1.6 billion last year and has a market value of $26 billion. It recently boosted its dividend by 4.7 percent.

“The utility has not been able to prove [its] need for the subsidy in the first place,” he said. “This is a huge giveaway to PSEG at the expense of the ratepayers and environment of New Jersey.”