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Row over bailouts to nuclear industry is heating up in Pennsylvania

Nuclear ‘bailout’ debate heats up, http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/nuclear-bailout-debate-heats-up-1.2184204 BY ROBERT SWIFT, HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF, 23 APR 17, HARRISBURG —Nuclear energy is emerging as a live issue at the statehouse in a way not seen since the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in March 1979 — nearly 40 years ago.

The formation of a very diverse coalition to oppose any nuclear “bailouts” following the creation by lawmakers last month of a pro-Nuclear Energy caucus sets the stage for a potential clash over the future of nuclear plants. The nuclear industry has faced plant shutdowns across the nation and problems selling its electricity at competitive rates, with competition from cheaper natural gas in recent years.

New York State has approved a surcharge on customers’ electric bills to provide a subsidy to keep plants open. Other bailout proposals would inflate electricity prices to help the industry.

No actual proposals have surfaced in Harrisburg to have electricity customers pay surcharges to help keep Pennsylvania’s five nuclear plants open. The legislative caucus said its top priority is preserving the jobs of nuclear plant workers, including 1,000 employees at the Susquehanna power plant in Salem Twp. owned by Talen Energy.

But Citizens Against Nuclear Bailouts isn’t waiting for a bill to appear. This coalition of consumer groups, business groups and other power generators wants to stop a bailout in its tracks. Surcharges would hit senior citizens and working families, coalition members said. A bailout would fly in the face of Pennsylvania’s decision to deregulate its electric market nearly 20 years ago, they added.

The statement by the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association is interesting:

“Like every other industry, nuclear power providers should be free to compete for customers in the electricity market, but they shouldn’t benefit from a taxpayer or ratepayer bailout,” said PMA President David Taylor

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April 24, 2017 - Posted by | politics, USA

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