BEYOND NUCLEAR PUBLICATIONS

Search
JOIN OUR NETWORK

     

     

DonateNow

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.

.................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Wednesday
Jul272016

Protect the Great Lakes: Tell NY Gov. Cuomo to Hang up on Nuclear Subsidies, Ring for Renewables/Efficiency Instead!

Tell Governor Cuomo to "hang up" on nuclear subsidies and support renewable energy and energy efficiency instead.
Thanks to Jessica Azulay at Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) in New York State for sending out this action alert. Please see it below, and take action as soon as possible -- the New York State Public Service Commission could finalize its decision as early as Monday, August 1st! Jessica also asks that you please forward this action alert widely.
Even if you don't live in New York, please take action. Certainly, alert anyone you know in NY to this, so they can communicate directly with Gov. Cuomo. But those who live in other states, or even another country (Canada), would face higher prices, if you ever travel to New York State -- businesses will be forced to raise prices for their products, and even municipalities for their services (such as public transit, such as electrified subway systems), to compensate for this nuclear bailout delivered as a nuclear tax on electricity bills.

But in addition, the precedent could spread to other states (or even provinces) near you, once it is set in such a big, highly populated, influential state as New York. Exelon and Entergy are the two nuclear utilities that would benefit most from this New York bailout -- and, funds being fungible, that could help prop up their reactors in others states, such as Exelon's in Illinois, Entergy's Palisades in Michigan, etc. Even other nuclear utilities, such as FirstEnergy in Ohio, could argue that subsidizing Davis-Besse makes sense, given the NY precedent. All of this has dire implications for Lake Michigan and Lake Erie (and all points downstream), of course! Altogether, the Great Lakes are the drinking water supply for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, and 2 Canadian provinces!

And perhaps most significantly of all, propping up these age-degraded, dirty, dangerous and expensive atomic reactors, at ratepayer expense, is playing with fire, in terms of risks to health, safety, and the environment. The upstate New York reactors on the Lake Ontario shore (Ginna, FitzPatrick, Nine Mile Point Units 1 & 2) are deep into their breakdown phase, at risk of a catastrophic failure. This could radioactively ruin Lake Ontario, drinking water supply for nine million people downstream, in both the U.S. and Canada, as well as a large number of Native American First Nations.

And Indian Point's two reactors near New York City -- which, it now appears, could also get cut in on the deal too -- are surrounded by more than 20 million people, within a 50-mile radius.
Indian Point was already considered for attack by Al Qaeda in 2001, and represents an ongoing, huge security risk. Ed Lyman of Union of Concerned Scientists in 2004, in a report entitled "Chernobyl on the Hudson?", reported that up to 44,000 acute fatalities (radiation poisoning deaths), over 500,000 latent cancer fatalities, and more than a trillion dollars (yes, with a T) of property damage could result, depending on weather conditions, if a successful terrorist attack happened at Indian Point.

These "games" of radioactive Russian roulette are unacceptable, putting at risk a large part of North America, downwind and downstream, up the food chain, and down the generations. This bailout of New York's atomic reactors must be stopped. Please phone New York Governor Cuomo today and tell him so! Use AGREE's sample call scripts provided below, and include other points (such as those above, if you find them compelling and helpful). Thanks.

Sincerely,

Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear

From: "Jessica Azulay" <jessica@allianceforagreeneconomy.org>

Your call today could save New York billions of dollars!

Tell Governor Cuomo to "hang up" on nuclear subsidies and support renewable energy and energy efficiency instead.

Next Monday, New York’s energy regulators may approve an electric rate increase on all New York’s energy consumers. The plan would cost $7-10 billion to prop up NY’s unprofitable nuclear plants. Without these subsidies, nuclear plants cannot compete with renewable energy and will close. But under the guise of “Clean Energy,” the nuclear industry is about to get its hands on our money in order to save its own profits, at the expense of public health and safety – unless we speak up right now.

Thousands of New Yorkers, over 120 organizations, and dozens of elected officials have gone on record opposing the plan. But the Governor has not backed down. Now we need to raise the pressure by flooding his office with phone calls.
 
Please call Governor Cuomo today: (518) 474-8390
 
Click here for some simple instructions and sample call scripts you can use when you call.
 
Every dollar spent on nuclear subsidies is a dollar out of the pocket of New York's electricity consumers -- residents, businesses, and municipalities. This is money that could instead go to supporting energy affordability, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and a just transition to a clean energy economy.

For more information, visit www.CleanUptheCleanEnergyStandard.org and stay up to date on the AGREE Facebook page. Please contact Alliance for a Green Economy if you have any questions.
 
Sincerely,
Jessica Azulay

______________________________

_________________________________
----Background---

 
New York's Governor Would Rather Prop Up the Nuclear Industry Than Invest in Renewable Energy

By Jessica Azulay / AlterNet
July 13, 2016

New York is poised to dump $7.6 billion into dirty, dangerous and aging nuclear power plants as part of a policy that Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling the Clean Energy Standard. Although this policy would provide support for renewable energy by requiring utilities to meet New York’s goal of producing 50 percent of electricity from renewable energy by 2030, sadly the real money in the plan is sadly reserved for bailing out nuclear plants. The governor wants to keep several aging nuclear plants open to preserve jobs in two upstate communities.

That may be good politics—and certainly no one wants people to lose jobs—but there are substantial drawbacks, including putting millions of New Yorkers at risk. Why doesn't the governor invest clean energy funds in actual clean energy, such as solar and wind?

To put the 12-year, $7.6 billion plan into perspective, consider that Cuomo’s NY-Sun program, which pays for the state’s solar incentives, is slated to invest only $1 billion into the solar industry over 10 years. That billion dollars has supported the creation of a lot of jobs. Halfway through NY-Sun’s life, New York state has benefited from the creation of 8,000 solar jobs. Conversely, the $7.6 billion to keep nuclear plants open will save about 2,000 jobs. Based on this math, the money would be better spent invested in solar energy. If the governor wants to give existing nuclear workers a helping hand, he could also provide renewable energy companies incentives to hire them.

Left as it is, the nuclear subsidy policy would turn on its head New York’s promise to lead the nation in renewable energy and instead leave New York and Governor Cuomo leading the nation in nuclear subsidies for old and dangerous reactors. The so-called Clean Energy Standard would spend twice the amount of money on dirty energy as it would on renewables. That is preposterous.

The plants that the state wants to prop up are failures both financially and technologically. For instance, the FitzPatrick reactor in Oswego was recently shut down for 12 days due to an electrical issue that ended up causing the plant to spill oil into Lake Ontario—the drinking water source for over 9 million people. FitzPatrick is losing so much money the company that owns it, Entergy, is ready to shut it down. But the governor has apparently been working behind the scenes to get another company to buy the plant in exchange for these generous nuclear subsidies.

The potential buyer, Exelon, also owns two reactors next door, both of which share FitzPatrick’s Fukushima-style design that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has admitted is flawed and could lead to radioactive releases in the case of an accident. Aside from accidents, perhaps nuclear’s biggest failure of all is that it creates thousands of tons of radioactive waste. There is no long-term plan to deal with this waste, so for generations after the electrons generated by the plants have been used, the toxic radioactive waste will remain. Is this the legacy Governor Cuomo wants to leave for New York?

Imagine what New York could do if Cuomo would go all-in on the thriving renewable energy sector instead of dumping more money into the nuclear industry. We could put more funding into wind and solar—including getting offshore wind up and running—and make tens of thousands of homes more energy efficient, creating jobs and saving people money. We could put real dollars into the geothermal industry and get ourselves off fracked gas and other fossil fuels used to heat our homes. We’d have money to help with worker retraining and transitioning communities into the green economy. In short, we could accelerate our transition to 100 percent renewable energy, getting there faster, cheaper and safer.

Thousands of New Yorkers and over 100 organizations have criticized these nuclear subsidies, instead calling for the governor to let dangerous and unprofitable nuclear plants close and to invest our money in renewable energy and energy efficiency instead. But on July 8, the governor’s Public Service Commission went the opposite direction, releasing a new, expensive version of the proposed subsidies. The commission is giving the public a paltry 10 days to comment while the governor stated to the press Wednesday he is working to finalize a deal to keep FitzPatrick open to save 600 jobs and use nuclear as a so-called “clean energy bridge” at the cost of billions of dollars.  

Governor Cuomo should protect the safety of millions of New Yorkers. He should say no to subsidizing the nuclear industry and yes to New York’s clean and green energy economy. Call him today at (518) 474-8390.
 
Update from Alliance for a Green Economy: The new proposal from the Public Service Commission targets the upstate nuclear reactors, but leaves the door open to subsidies for Entergy’s Indian Point reactor starting in 2019. If Indian Point is included in this plan, the costs will rise to over $10 billion. This could also undermine efforts by the environmental movement and New York State government agencies to close Indian Point.

Please call Governor Cuomo today: (518) 474-8390
 
Click here for some simple instructions and sample call scripts you can use when you call.

P.S. For your convenience, we have provided buttons below that you can use to share this message on social media or via email to your friends.

[Share on Facebook] 

[Share on Twitter] 

[Forward via Email]

Tuesday
Jul262016

PUCO staff proposes shoring up FirstEnergy's credit rating on the backs of ratepayers -- but who's shoring up Davis-Besse's crumbling Shield Building?!

The "Whitewash of 2012" (weather sealing the Shield Building, 40 years too late), August to October 2012, which merely made matters worse, locking water in the walls, leading to Ice-Wedging Crack Propagation with every freeze-thaw cycle.From today's Midwest Energy News:

UTILITIES:
• Ohio regulators continue taking testimony on a third rate plan filed by FirstEnergy that would have customers pay $393 million to shore up the utility’s credit rating. (Toledo Blade)

While the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) staff proposes to save FirstEnergy's credit rating, and enrich FirstEnergy shareholders in the process, on the backs of electric consumers in Ohio with a hefty surcharge on their bills, who is proposing to shore up the crumbling Shield Building (rebar reinforced concrete containment) at the Davis-Besse atomic reactor?! Certainly not FirstEnergy, nor the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Not one penny of the currently proposed ratepayer bailout of FirstEnergy would go towards repairing or replacing the severely cracked, and worsening, Shield Building. FirstEnergy's plan is merely to monitor the growth of the cracking (which they used to deny was even happening), and woefully inadequately at that. NRC has approved this plan.

Replacing the Shield Building would cost billions. It is unclear that repair is even possible. The only "repair" FirstEnergy attempted -- the "whitewash of 2012" (applying weather-sealant to preclude water intrusion, 40 years too late, from August to October 2012) -- merely made the cracking worse, by locking water in the walls! (See photo, above left.)


The Ice-Wedging Crack Propagation, with every freeze-thaw cycle, due to water locked in the walls, will repeat numerous times this autumn-winter-spring coming up, depending on weather conditions. With each freeze, the cracking grows by a half-inch, or more, in circumferential orientation around the Shield Building exterior wall.

Subsidizing Davis-Besse's continued operation, at ratepayer expense, is a game of radioactive Russian roulette, putting those downwind, downstream, up the food chain, and down the generations at ever increasing risk of a catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity. Thanks to everyone who continues to oppose FirstEnergy's attempted money grabs, aided and abetted by the PUCO staff. Davis-Besse must be shut down, before it melts down.

Thursday
Jul212016

Take action to prevent $8 billion nuclear bailout in New York that would worsen radioactive risks to Great Lakes drinking water supply!

Graphic art from AGREE action alertNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his Public Service Commission (NY PSC) have proposed bailing out three Exelon Nuclear atomic reactors (Ginna, Nine Mile Point 1 & 2) in upstate NY, and a fourth on the Lake Ontario shore that Exelon now wants to purchase (Entergy's FitzPatrick), to the tune of $8 billion over 12 years. The burden of the bailout would be entirely shouldered by NY ratepayers: that is, households and businesses. Ironically enough, those massive funds would come out of New York's Clean Energy Fund. AGREE (Alliance for a Green Economy) has reported that the nuclear cut would gobble up a full two-thirds of the funding that was originally, and appropriately, intended to go for genuinely clean energy development -- namely, efficiency upgrades, and renewable sources of electricity such as solar photovoltaic and wind power.

Take action(s), below, ASAP to prevent this massive nuclear power bailout at ratepayer expense, that would worsen the risks of a catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity into the drinking water supply for nine million people in two countries -- the U.S. and Canada -- and a large number of Native American First Nations downstream! Public comments are due by Friday, July 22nd, as the NY PSC only allowed an exceedingly short public comment period, in its rush to rubber-stamp the nuclear bailout!

TAKE ACTION!

You can use AGREE's online webform as is, or tailor it to your own words, and submit it to the NY PSC (AGREE will automatically cc it to Gov. Cuomo, as well.)

Also, use Public Citizen's webform as is, or make changes to what's written, and submit it to the NY PSC.

In addition, you can adapt, or simply sign and submit, a letter prepared by Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Here is an action alert, entitled "You won't believe how much the NY nuclear bailout will cost...speak up today!", sent out by Jessica Azulay at AGREE on Monday, July 18th:

It's Time to Hit the Brakes on Governor Cuomo's Extravagant 12-Year Nuclear Bailout

The push for a massive nuclear power bailout in New York just got a lot worse -- and the state agency pushing it doesn't want to consider other options or give the public any time to make our voices heard.

After saying for months that the proposed nuclear subsides would cost only $270 million over 12 years, a new proposal released just a few days ago raised the projected price to almost $8 billion. Yes, you read that right, Governor Cuomo and the New York Public Service Commission now want to spend $8 billion of New Yorkers’ money on bailing out the nuclear industry, and in particular, one company: Exelon. The cost will be paid by every electricity consumer in New York -- residents, businesses, and municipalities -- with higher energy bills.

This may be the largest corporate bailout or subsidy to one company in New York history. And the public has been given only 10 business days to comment on this new expensive plan. They are rushing to try to make a decision by August 1.

If we want to stop this, we need thousands of people to comment by Friday, July 22. So I am writing to ask you to please raise your voice.

Click here to comment today.

This is so much worse than even the original plan to bail out most of New York's nuclear power plants. If it goes through, New York will end up spending two times more money on bailing out dirty, old, dangerous reactors than on building safe, clean, affordable renewable energy. And we would be locked into paying this nuclear tax for over 12 years, until 2029. The PSC hasn’t even considered other options. They have done no analysis to see what it would look like if we replaced nuclear power in New York with efficiency or renewables.

That is outrageous and dangerous.

It risks nuclear meltdowns on the shore of Lake Ontario, drinking water for 9 million people, just miles from Syracuse and Rochester.

It steals billions of dollars from building the clean-energy economy New York needs and deserves.

And it blocks real climate solutions for over a decade, just to make more and more radioactive waste.

Please send a message to the Public Service Commission and Governor Cuomo now.

We are working closely with national, state, and local groups to get out the word and take action. You can get regular updates on our Facebook page and Twitter feed, and we will be sending out more email alerts over the next days and weeks. You can also get more detailed info on AGREE's website.

Please submit a comment today and then please tell you friends about this.
 
Thank you for raising your voice.

Sincerely,
Jessica Azulay
Alliance for a Green Economy

[Share the AGREE action alert on Facebook]

[Share the AGREE action alert on Twitter]

[Forward the AGREE action alert via email]

AND HERE IS AN ACTION ALERT PREPARED BY BEYOND NUCLEAR IN RESPONSE TO AGREE'S ALERT ABOVE:

Dear Friends and Colleagues concerned about the Great Lakes environment,

Please see the urgent action alert below from Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) in upstate New York.


While New Yorkers have the most direct stake in this matter, everyone has a stake in this decision, and should take action. This includes both Americans, and Canadians, as spelled out below.

New Yorkers of course have the most direct stake -- If you know New Yorkers, please alert them and urge them to take action ASAP!

But anyone who will travel to New York, would pay higher prices for traveling there -- businesses will likely increase costs, if forced to pay these nuclear bailout surcharges.

So here is an added section I included when I filled out the AGREE web form:

But it is not only New Yorkers who would be hurt by such nuclear power subsidies, at their expense. New York businesses would likely have to increase the price for their goods and services, to defray the increased electric rates they were forced to pay to prop up the old, failing reactors. So their customers would likely be forced to share the pain for these nuclear power surcharges. This would impact both New York residents, but also visitors and tourists. I fall in that latter category. I am a regular visitor to both New York City and other parts of the state. I oppose being forced to share the pain in this way, and this could influence my decisions on future visits to New York.

(In fact, AGREE encourages folks to personalize their comments to the New York Public Service Commission, which will be cc'd to New York Governor Cuomo.)

And Americans across the U.S. also have this at stake -- this could serve as a national precedent, to be applied in other states. The nuclear power industry in numerous states is attempting to do this too -- secure massive ratepayer bailouts, to prop up non-competitive, age-degraded, dirty and dangerous atomic reactors. We must nip this in the bud, we must block these nuclear industry lobbyist money grabs.

In fact, Exelon Nuclear, headquartered in Chicago, would gain the most of all from these New York subsidies. Exelon is seeking similar subsidies in Illinois, to prop up old, dirty, dangerous, non-competitive atomic reactors there. Of course, a meltdown in Illinois would be upwind of the Great Lakes' surface waters, and that atmospheric fallout of catastrophic amounts of hazardous radioactivity could do great harm to the drinking water supply for 40 million people in two countries, as well as a large number of Native American First Nations.
In addition, the bad precedent in New York could be cited, officially or otherwise, as something to emulate in other states. Ohio comes to mind, where FirstEnergy Nuclear, for several years now, has not been successful (yet) in obtaining $4 billion, at the expense of ratepayers, to prop up its old, dirty, dangerous, non-competitive Davis-Besse atomic reactor (as well as its even older, dirty, dangerous, non-competitive Sammis coal burner). But FirstEnergy's lobbyists keep trying, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and others in state government keep trying to accommodate them, at ratepayer expense. That fight is still very much on. The good news is, if FirstEnergy is denied the multi-billion dollar bailout, this will significantly increase the probability that the money-losing (and dirty, dangerous, etc.) Davis-Besse atomic reactor and Sammis coal burner will simply be retired (at which point we can start watch-dogging Davis-Besse's every move on decommissioning, high-level radioactive waste management, etc.!)

Other states where such nuclear industry bailouts to prop up old, failing reactors are being proposed include Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
And a meltdown on the Lake Ontario shore in upstate New York could be a catastrophe for the entire Great Lakes bio-region, as well. (This makes the issue entirely relevant to Canadians, of course -- just as a Canadian reactor meltdown on the Great Lakes would impact Americans downwind and downstream, up the food chain, and down the generations.) That is another personal comment you could add to your web form submission. Here is the language I used regarding this point:

Propping up dangerously old reactors through massive ratepayer bailouts also increases the risks of a nuclear catastrophe. On the upstate NY shore of Lake Ontario, such a reactor disaster and catastrophic release of hazardous radioactivity would devastate the entire Great Lakes bio-region, but especially the drinking water supply for nine million people in two countries, immediately downstream. The lifeblood -- the Great Lakes -- of one of the world's single biggest regional economies, across eight states and two provinces, as well as a large number of Native American First Nations, should not be put at risk in this way.

Please take action ASAP, to help prevent such risks to pocketbooks as well as health, safety, and the environment.

Thanks!

---Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear and Don't Waste Michigan
AND HERE IS A LINK TO A NEWS ARTICLE:

 

Thursday
Jul212016

Clearwater: Public comment now due Fri., 7/22 on PSC's proposed $7.6 billion nuclear subsidy in Clean Energy Standard -- sample letter attached

Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.'s Environmental Director, Manna Jo Greene, sent out the following action alert on July 20th:

Dear Friends and Colleagues.

On Friday, July 8 the NYS Department of Public Service Staff released a revised Clean Energy Standard proposal that would subsidize unprofitable nuclear reactors in Upstate NY. This updated proposal, Case #15-E-0302: Proceeding on Motion of the Commission to Implement a Large-Scale Renewable Program and a Clean Energy Standard, is estimated to cost $1 billion over the first two years, and could cost NYS ratepayers as much as $7.6 billion in steadily increasing subsidies by 2029. This proposal would force all electricity consumers in New York to spend $2 on nuclear subsidies for every $1 put toward programs for renewable energy and energy efficiency.  

Comments on the revised proposal were due Monday, July 18, however the PSC granted a brief 5-day extension -- not the customary 45 days granted to analyze the economic and legal implications of the Staff's revised proposal. 10 days is really not enough time to review these recommendations, when all of New York State will be affected by this proposal.  Attached and below is a template of comments that you can use or adapt; we are also still calling for an extenstion to be granted.  This is not a decision to be made in haste.

We have sent the attaached to about 1,500 elected officials in more than 100 municipalities in the Hudson Valley and NYC.  This same letter can be adapted to your organization or sent by you as an individual  (and/or ou can also sign on to the AGREE organizational letter at www.allianceforagreeneconomy.org/organizational-sign-nuclear-bailout as well). Please adapt and please follow up with your elected official to ask that they also send one in. 

Letters urging the New York State Public Service Commission to reconsider the proposed mandatory nuclear subsidies and requesting an extension of the period for public comment should be submitted by email to secretary@dps.ny.gov, and addressed to:

Hon. Kathleen H. Burgess

Secretary to the Commission

New York State Public Service Commission

Three Empire State Plaza

Albany, New York 12223-1350

 

Dear Secretary Burgess:

I request that the NY State Public Service Commission reconsider the recommendations in the Staff’s Responsive Proposal for Preserving Zero-Emissions Attributes in Case 15-E-0302 for a mandatory nuclear subsidy that is estimated to cost New Yorkers more than $7 billion over the course of the next 12 years. 

The California Public Utility Commission recently created a plan to phase out their last nuclear power plant, by facilitating a joint agreement between Pacific Gas & Electric, the unions representing the plant workers, environmental groups and municipal officials, which will replace the power generated by Diablo Canyon with 100% renewable energy and energy efficiency over the course of nine years, while protecting the workers’ jobs and providing for retraining where needed, without mandating any subsidy that ratepayers would fund. 

New York has no such plan, yet the Department of Public Service is proposing to impose an estimated $7.6 billion subsidy to underwrite the currently unprofitable operation of FitzPatrick, Ginna, and Nine Mile Point nuclear power stations.  Staff’s proposal, originally estimated to cost of between $59 and $658 million over the first seven years, has now been revised to cost an estimated $953 million for only the first two years.  The subsidy rate charged to ratepayers will escalate from $17.48 per MWh in 2017-2019 to $29.15 per MWh in 2027-2029 (depending on energy and capacity price adjustments), locking New York ratepayers into a huge subsidy over the course of the next 12 years.

Staff’s proposal now also considers including Indian Point, which the NY State Department of State has determined to be inconsistent with the Coastal Management Plan for environmental and economic reasons, and unnecessary to maintain reliability.  Including Indian Point in the proposed nuclear subsidy could add another $4 billion to the total cost of its proposal, which would be funded by ratepayers, including residents of all income levels, large and small businesses, non-profits, and municipalities.  In the Mid-Hudson region, this would compound already high rates and the Lower Hudson Capacity Zone surcharge.

Because the Load Serving Entities – the utilities and Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) – would be required to bill their customers for the so-called Zero Emission Credits (ZECs), customers would no longer have the option of choosing to purchase 100% renewable energy, because they would be forced to pay the nuclear surcharge regardless of whether or not they want to purchase nuclear power.

By referring to nuclear power as having zero-emission attributes, the Staff’s proposal ignores emissions generated in mining, milling, transporting and storing nuclear fuel, and the planned and unplanned releases of radioactive isotopes and other emissions associated with nuclear operations.  The proposal likewise ignores the creation of high-level radioactive waste in the form spent nuclear fuel rods, which will likely be stored in New York State for many decades. It also exaggerates the reliability of aging nuclear facilities, which have recently experienced increasingly frequent outages due to leaks, fires, electrical problems, and, in the case of Indian Point, severely degraded baffle-former bolts inside the reactor.

The Staff report also leaves many unanswered questions regarding the actual cost that will be borne by ratepayers and how this will affect our economy, especially for low and moderate income families, businesses who operate on the margin and municipalities with stretched budgets that are capped.

[I/We] urge the Public Service Commission to deny the Staff’s Responsive Proposal for Preserving Zero-Emissions Attributes in its current form.  Because the Staff’s recommendations will have significant economic impacts on the [MUNICIPALITY] and our constituents, [I/we] also request that the PSC extend the deadline for filing comments on the Staff’s proposal to the full 45-days, as is customary under State Administrative Procedures Act (SAPA), to allow adequate time to review the substantial changes contained in this proposal.

Sincerely,

[NAME]

[TITLE, if any]

[ORGANIZATION, if any, or MUNICIPALITY]

[CONTACT INFO] 

 

You can also file this comment directly on line at: http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/MatterManagement/CaseMaster.aspx?MatterCaseNo=15-e-0302

If you do send in comments, please forward us a copy [to: mannajo@clearwater.org].


Many thanks,


Manna
Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.
724 Wolcott Ave., Beacon, NY 12508
845-265-8080 x 7113  Fax: 845-831-2821
www.clearwater.org 

><((((º>    ><((((º>     ><((((º>     ><((((º>

The following three attachments were included with the action alert:

Memorandum re: Public Service Commission Staff Proposal for Subsidizing Nuclear Power Plants in NY State;

PSC STAFF'S RESPONSIVE PROPOSAL FOR PRESERVING ZERO-EMISSIONS ATTRIBUTES (July 8, 2016);

Sample letter from New York State elected officials or organizations asking PSC to rethink mandatory 12-yr nuclear subsidy (7.20.16).

Wednesday
Jun292016

A radical plan to bailout struggling nukes -- federal government takeover!

As reported by Bloomberg Government's Mark Drajem, Edward Kee, the founder of the Nuclear Economics Consulting Group, has a not so modest proposal to "save the nukes": a federal government bailout, or outright takeover, akin to the $700 billion rescue package for Wall Street banks and the Big Three automakers in the aftermath of the 2008 U.S. economic crisis.

Of course, Kee's outrageous scheme seems to forget, the U.S. government -- that is, federal taxpayers -- as well as electric ratepayers, have been subsidizing nuclear power for decades, to the tune of tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars, as Doug Koplow documented in a comprehensive 2011 report commissioned by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

But then again, Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute made the astute observation, many years ago, that the only places where nuclear power is enjoying a significant growth spurt, are in countries with highly centralized economies, such as China and India.

That is, the public pays, while the nuclear robber barons profit.

The small number of reactors under construction in the U.S. operate along the same lines. The two new reactors under construction in Georgia -- Vogtle Units 3 and 4 -- enjoy not only ratepayer subsidies dubbed "Construction Work in Progress," or "advanced recovery" surcharges on electric bills, but also $8.3 billion in federal taxpayer nuclear loan guarantees, compliments of the Obama administration.

The two new reactors under construction in South Carolina -- Summer 3 and 4 -- have foregone federal loan guarantees, instead doubling down on gouging ratepayers. Remarkably, one-fifth of South Carolina ratepayer electric bills now go towards building the two reactors, after the ninth "pay-in-advance" rate hike, in just the past several years, as reported by the Charleston, South Carolina Post & Courier.

And the latest nuclear establishment fad -- so-called Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) -- have also enjoyed many hundreds of millions of dollars of federal taxpayer subsidization, a trend that will continue, if the national nuclear labs, reactor vendors, and nuclear utilities of the U.S. continue to get their way.

Kee's immodest proposal also seems to forget that nuclear industry lobbyists, as from Exelon and Entergy, demanded competitive electricity markets back in the 1990s and early 2000s. They hoped to make even more profits than they were already making under regulated monopolies that they then enjoyed. Now that atomic reactors can't compete with cheaper sources of electricity, in the markets their own lobbyists demanded be created, nuclear utilities are crying foul, and demanding the clocks be turned back, and their profits again guaranteed, at ratepayer expense.

The proposal for government takeover of failing atomic reactors extends from the federal level to the state level. As reported by Syracuse.com, in New York State, for example, local elected officials, nuclear power plant unions, and a former Republican Public Service Commission chairman have called for the State of New York Power Authority to take back over at Entergy's FitzPatrick, scheduled to close in January 2017. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has rejected that idea, although he does support ratepayer subsidies in the form of "zero emissions credits" under the Public Service Commission's Clean Energy Fund program, in development. Groups like NIRS and AGREE have led the resistance to that particular form of bailout, which would burden New York ratepayers to the tune of billions of dollars over time.