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The economic pain of nuclear power station closures

Nuclear Plant Closures Bring Economic Pain to Cities and Towns, Pew, STATELINE ARTICLE, September 5, 2018, By: Martha T. Moore  “…….. Aging nuclear power plants are closing, doomed by the high cost of refurbishing them and the low price of natural gas. That is causing fiscal pain for municipalities that rely on revenue from the plants, and creating political pressure for state subsidies to forestall further shutdowns……….

Six reactors have shut down in the past five years, and eight more reactors are scheduled to close by 2025 at plants in California, Iowa, Massachusetts and Michigan. Nuclear power operators have said they will close a further five reactors at four plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania if those states don’t offer subsidies.

The closure of Indian Point, announced in January 2017, capped decades of controversy over its safety, and was a victory for environmental groups and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had long opposed the plant.

But the closure presents the local Hendrick-Hudson school district, where 2,500 children practice evacuation drills annually and nurses have iodide pills on hand in case of a radiation leak, with a budget crisis. About one-third of the district’s annual $79 million budget comes from Indian Point’s payment in lieu of taxes. By 2024, three years after the power plant huts, the yearly payments will have dwindled from $25 million to $1.35 million. ……..

Many nuclear power plants have curried public favor by being good corporate citizens. In Londonderry, for example, Three Mile Island runs a golf tournament for the local fire department that raises enough money to cover the $50,000 annual mortgage payment on the firehouse.

Redevelopment of Three Mile Island isn’t an option, Letavic said, because of the nuclear waste that will remain on the site, which is in the middle of the Susquehanna River……

In Lacey Township on the New Jersey shore, the nation’s oldest operating nuclear plant, Oyster Creek, will shut down in September after 49 years. The town gets $11 million in annual taxes from Oyster Creek and has identified itself so closely with the nuclear plant that its municipal seal bears the symbol of an atom as well as a sailboat and a pheasant. …….

Asking for State Help

Four states have moved to shore up nuclear power plants financially despite opposition from some environmental groups, consumer advocates and the coal and natural gas power industries.

In 2016, New York passed a $7.6 billion package to help three upstate nuclear power plants — though not Indian Point. And Illinois passed legislation directing $2.4 billion to two plants in the state through “zero emissions credits” 

…..In New Jersey, where 40 percent of the state’s electricity comes from nuclear plants, the state will subsidize two plants at a rate of $300 million a year under a bill enacted in May. (Oyster Creek was not included in the subsidy plan.) Connecticut enacted legislation last October that could allow its sole nuclear plant, the Millstone reactor in Waterford, to sell electricity at higher prices if Dominion Energy, its owner, can show the reactor is financially strapped. ………

As part of the nuclear subsidy packages, some states have increased requirements for obtaining power from renewable sources: New York and New Jersey will require half of their power to come from renewables by 2030, and Connecticut will require 40 percent by that date. Illinois will require a quarter of its power to come from renewables by 2025.https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/09/05/nuclear-plant-closures-bring-economic-pain-to-cities-and-towns

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September 6, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, employment, USA

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