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Pennsylvania nuclear lobby hoping for nuclear industry salvation via Tax-payer funding

Nuclear plants hope not to close, The Daily Item, By John Finnerty CNHI Harrisburg reporter, May 26, 2018, HARRISBURG — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law this week a $300 million Zero Emissions Certificate program intended to prop up the state’s nuclear power plants.

Nuclear energy industry lobbyists in Pennsylvania hope to see similar state aid here, to hold off announced closings of the Three Mile Island power plant operated by Exelon in Dauphin County and Beaver Valley Power Station, operated by FirstEnergy in Beaver County.

Exelon will not refuel Three Mile Island, as scheduled, in October 2019, unless something changes, David Fein, Exelon’s vice president for state and government affairs, said Thursday. FirstEnergy has filed noticed with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission that Beaver Valley will cease operating in 2021……….

Three Mile Island was the site of what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has described as “the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history” when its reactor partially melted down on March 28, 1979. The incident prompted then-Gov. Dick Thornburgh to announce that women and children within five miles of the nuclear power plant should evacuate. An estimated 140,000 people within 20 miles of the power plant fled the area in the days after the incident, according to an NRC summary of the event.

…….Environmentalists interviewed for this story said the shadow of the 1979 incident “still lingers” in the minds of many people skeptical of the industry.

Tom Schuster, who leads the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Pennsylvania, said he’d recently heard Three Mile Island described as “the least popular nuclear power plant in the country.”

Schuster said it would be bad for climate change if the nuclear plants were replaced by plants running on fracked natural gas.

Still, he’s still not particularly sold on the idea that the power companies will follow through and close the plants if the state doesn’t provide subsidies. Any plan to reward nuclear power for producing cleaner energy should also provide incentives for solar and wind energy, he said.

Eric Epstein, the long-time president of TMI Alert, a local watchdog group, said that taxpayers have repeatedly been asked to subsidize the nuclear power plants and he sees no reason it should continue.

“Nuclear power can’t exist without subsidies,” he said. “The market has ruled. There should be no more subsidies.”

He said the industry suggestion that nuclear power is clean, doesn’t tell the whole story.

“When you look at their green benefits, you have to look at their brown impacts too,” he said, pointing to concerns about handling of the radioactive waste produced at the power plants.

No legislation has yet been introduced in Pennsylvania to spell out how the industry might be propped up here………


May 28, 2018 - Posted by | politics, USA

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