Bailing Out State Nuclear Industry

January 23, 2019

Editor: It’s time to have an honest debate on bailing out the Pennsylvania nuclear industry. It’s time for consumers to have all of the information and not just rely on a Nuclear Energy Caucus report that contains testimony and figures provided in large part by the nuclear industry itself. Pennsylvania’s deregulated energy market continues to drive innovation and reduce costs for consumers and our power grid is more diverse than ever. However, during this period of increased technology and innovation, one nuclear power plant, Three Mile Island, can no longer compete with more efficient, lower-cost natural gas power generation and the surge of more competitive renewable resources. Now, the nuclear industry, led by Illinois-based Exelon Corp., is asking consumers to prop up its clunker, Three Mile Island, and pad the profits of other nuclear power plants. According to publicly available data from regional grid operator PJM Interconnection’s independent market monitor, the five nuclear power plants operating in the state are projected to turn a profit of more than $640 million. With the exception of Three Mile Island, all nuclear power generation plants in Pennsylvania are profitable, including the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, which is projected to have made more than $170 million in 2018. Why should consumers be forced to pay higher electricity bills to increase shareholder profits for the entire nuclear power industry? The competitive marketplace has spurred billions of dollars of private investment in new and more efficient power generating resources, which has resulted in thousands of construction jobs, economic growth and new tax revenues for communities throughout the state — this includes the Caithness Moxie Freedom Natural Gas power generating station in Luzerne County. Competition is working as intended and consumers are benefiting. Pennsylvania legislators should not support a nuclear bailout tax that would increase consumer electricity costs. Steve Kratz HARRISBURG

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