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.



Major Illinois energy bill advances with two days left in session

[See NEIS action alert at bottom of this post for what IL residents can do! If you know people in IL, please get word to them -- action is needed ASAP!]

As reported by Kari Lydersen in Midwest Energy News.

David Kraft, director of Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) of Chicago, has written the following response to the article and the legislative developments:

Kudos to the brilliant and accurate almost daily reporting of Kari Lydersen on this extremely important legislation!  It's a moving target for everyone, and this piece nails it well. 

Of great importance in understanding the magnitude of the upcoming decision, and the nature of the opposition, were some of the critical comments that occurred at the end of the House Energy Committee hearing on Tuesday 11/29.

There were significant criticisms from the Ill. Attorney General's office (e.g., that low-income EE funding was cut in half in the new version; that the new "ZES" in effect locks in a 10-year uncontestable rate-hike; LIHEAP provisions were removed from the previous version),  AARP, and the blockbuster opposition at the very end of the hearing from BOMA, Ill. Manufacturers Assn., Chemical Industry Council, and the Illinois Petroleum Council.  These latter 4 are usually Exelon supporters, and all came out strongly in opposition to the 450+ page Exelon nuclear bailout, citing that it is a net "jobs killer," and that, "turns the [highly successful] Illinois deregulation process (which was worked on for more than 6 months) on its head," undoing nearly 20 years worth of multi-billion dollar, market-based  energy savings with only 3 days of examination by legislators.  They also pointed out the obvious:  EITHER choice produces a rate increase; and they would rather live with the rate increase that was still governed by market forces, and not legislative fiat.

We would also emphasize the important distinction that "acceptance" of the nuclear bailout in the proposed bill by SOME in the  environmental community is not the same as "support" for either a bailout or nuclear power.  The environmental community has been split on the legislation over various issues at various times; and forced by Exelon’s allies in the legislature into this ‘nuclear hostage’ situation by the typical ‘horse-trading’ politics  that goes on in Springfield.  The enviros were forced to accept the Sophie’s choice of acceding to a nuclear bailout or else not see legislation promoting important renewable energy and energy efficiency programs move forward.  That’s not good energy policy, nor good governance.  That’s legalized extortion.

--Dave Kraft, director, Nuclear Energy Information Service, Chicago--

Although it is now very late in the game, there is still time to take action to oppose Exelon's massive nuclear power subsidies in IL. If you live in IL, please take action ASAP -- see NEIS's action alert below. If you know people who live in IL, please get word to them, and urge they take action ASAP, as well.


Exelon's $1.6 Billion Bailout Up for a Final Vote - Say "NO!" to Nuclear Bailout!
The Final Battle is upon us.  The Exelon Legislation, now going by the number SB 2814 Amendment 2, and the name of "the Future Energy Jobs Bill," [is up for a final vote].
It is imperative that calls go in to your legislators [IL legislative leaders, and the governor] with the messages below.
What you can do:
1.)    Contact your State Legislators with this message: Simply say NO to Exelon's Nuclear Bailout!
  • NO bailouts for Exelon's aging, money losing reactors
  • Fix the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), once and for all
  • Support community created and controlled jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Enact a "just transitions" program for reactor communities and displaced workers; 
  • Enact strong reactor decommissioning laws
To find out who your State Legislators are, click here:
2.)   and also call...


PRESS RELEASE from NEIS, as posted at its website:

For immediate release, Wednesday, November 23, 2016                           

Contact: David Kraft, Nuclear Energy Information Service

                           (773)342-7650 (w);


35-year old environmental, safe-energy organization sends strongly worded letter to legislators advising rejection of corporate “wealth transfer”

[See links at bottom]

CHICAGO--  In a strongly worded letter to state officials warning of “no rational basis for the Exelon nuclear bailout,” a 35-year old Illinois environmental organization today urged legislators to reject the proposed bailout.

Calling it “a ‘wealth transfer’ of billions of dollars from [Illinois] ratepayers to Exelon’s shareholders,” Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) stated that, “this nuclear bailout is not defensible from an environmental, jobs, business or any other rational standard,” referencing testimony and supportive documents it provided the Illinois House Energy Committee last week at a hearing on November 16th.

Recent developments in negotiations among representatives of the environmental community, Exelon and ComEd have resulted in a radically altered legislative proposal which has jettisoned some of the more controversial “deal breaker” elements of the proposal, including ComEd’s proposed “demand charge” basis for setting rates, radically changing solar net metering, and a bailout for financially distressed coal plants (many of which were slated for closure).  However, the core elements that started the whole process over 2 years ago remain:  the proposed Exelon bailout of money-losing nuclear reactors, and the fixing of the Illinois renewable energy portfolio standard.

“We believe that not only is Exelon not deserving of a bailout for its own business failures, but the Legislature itself has failed to do its ‘due diligence’ in the matter before taking the easy way out and letting Exelon undeservedly pick ratepayers’ pockets,” maintains NEIS director David A. Kraft.

Kraft points out that, while the legislature in 2014 approved a seven month, four-agency ‘study’ of the POTENTIAL negative effects of reactor closure on Illinois (HR1146), it failed to examine the other negative implications of approving a nuclear bailout.  “When is the legislature going to approve an equally thorough examination of the detrimental effects on the renewable energy and energy efficiency community in Illinois – which currently supports ~5 times more jobs in Illinois than ALL of the Exelon reactors combined – of a multi-billion dollar nuclear bailout, a 10-year legislatively imposed rate hike?” Kraft asks.  “Those 114,000 Illinois workers would like to have that question answered, too.”

Additionally, the NEIS correspondence notes six other alternatives to a nuclear bailout and major ratepayer rate hike that the legislature, and presumably Exelon, have ignored.  “We infer that for legislators and Exelon, it’s simply easier to bilk ratepayers than to get Exelon to do the hard but essential business work to find ways to improve its own profitability,” the NEIS letter asserts.

The letter to state officials also corrects an often repeated fallacy that reactors once closed cannot re-open.  This falsehood has often been used by Exelon representatives and state and local officials to urge quick, if imprudent, actions to bailout the nuclear plants.

“Our correspondence with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) confirms that there is no legal obstacle preventing a nuclear utility from petitioning the NRC to re-open a reactor whose operating license has been terminated,” Kraft points out.  “This information may come as a startling revelation to the local and state officials who have been told otherwise,” Kraft notes.

The text of the letter, NEIS’ testimony before the Illinois House Energy Committee and supportive documents it references will be available on the NEIS website by 4 p.m. Central time, Nov. 23, 2016.  Copies can be requested in advance by e-mail.

NEIS concluded its remarks to state officials by stating, “if [legislators] really want renewable energy and energy efficiency to be a part of Illinois’ energy future, have the courage to vote on these issues separately from the issue of the Exelon bailout.  To act otherwise is simply to capitulate to economic extortion – both bad energy policy and bad business practice.”


NEIS was founded in 1981 to provide the public with credible information on nuclear power, waste, and radiation hazards; and information about the viable energy alternatives to nuclear power.  For more information visit the NEIS website at:

Opposition to SB2814, Amend. 2 -- Exelon's Future Energy Jobs Bill: Legislators, please use the right end of the telescope! (Nov. 16, 2016);


August 4, 2016 letter from NRC to NEIS.


Reports: Exelon drops coal payments, demand charges in Illinois nuclear bill


Demand charges removed from Illinois nuke bailout bill

As reported by PV Magazine:

The move follows the governor’s office calling such charges “insane”. The provision to eliminate net metering has also been removed, as well as subsidies for coal-fired power plants...

What remains in the bill is the bailout for two nuclear plants in Illinois, but this is limited to 10 years. That this provision remains is not surprising, given that Exelon is not only Commonwealth Edison’s parent company, but the largest operator of nuclear power plants in the United States.

SB 2814 is currently being rammed through a special session of the Illinois Legislature intended for bills that were vetoed by the governor to be reconsidered. However, it is also where bills are often passed with less consideration for details.


Nuke bailout gets new life in Springfield energy bill