This week in “Safe, affordable nuclear power”


by David Safier

Florida's Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant is being shut down permanently. It's been closed since 2009 when it was discovered its concrete containment building was cracked, then the repair attempt opened new cracks.

The site will still be around another 60 years — 3 generations — before it's completely decontaminated and dismantled.

Rate payers will get money back, given by one of Duke Energy's hands, then that money and more will be taken away by the other. An insurance settlement to the company will mean $835 million in customer refunds because they've had to pay for higher cost power while the plant was offline. But then Duke will try to get $1.65 billion back from the same customers to recoup its investment (because, I guess, the company shouldn't have to pay for its risky investment in nuclear power). Net loss to customers: $815 million.

There are so many cautionary tales in this short news item, I don't know where to begin, so I'll leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions.


  1. NidanGoju’s list is very misleading, as he is likely including the solar investment tax credit (that applies to every solar company) as companies “receiving money from the Obama administration” and then listing every solar company that is “faltering” (also inaccurate, there are strong companies listed there). As a side note, subsidies for the fossil fuel industry outweigh renewables by a factor of 6-1.

    Outgoing secretary Chu recently stated,
    “Through the Recovery Act, the Department of Energy made grants and loans to more than 1,300 companies. While critics try hard to discredit the program, the truth is that only one percent of the companies of the companies we funded went bankrupt. That one percent has gotten more attention than the 99 percent that have not.”

  2. Thanks for the comments about the ongoing costs of subsidizing nuclear power, Russell. I might also add, nuclear power is a dying energy source while solar and wind are still in their early stages and need a great deal of research and development to reach their full potential. Also, if there’s a crack in a windmill or a solar panel, people in the vicinity don’t have to fear radiation contamination. Safe and clean vs. Dangerous and dirty.

  3. . . .Nuclear bailouts have cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The Shoreham nuclear plant, of Long Island, alone cost over $10 billion to bail out, in 1980s dollars!

  4. Vermont Yankee is on the short list, also, as will Indian Point soon be, by my estimation. Nukes have been in favor ever since Presidnet Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program.
    A great study by Union of Concerned Scientists is available at which shows nukes have in the past cost 6 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity and still cost 6 cents/kWhe and will in the foreseeable future cost 6 cents/kWhe.
    This is double the subsidy per kWhe that solar gets, or coal, or natural gas. Nukes need it continually, as they cannot stand on their own, after 60 years at the pork barrel.

  5. “…I guess, the company shouldn’t have to pay for its risky investment in nuclear power). Net loss to customers: $815 million.”

    The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:This list includes only those companies that received federal money from the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy and other agencies.
    1.Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
    2.SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
    3.Solyndra ($535 million)*
    4.Beacon Power ($43 million)*
    5.Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
    6.SunPower ($1.2 billion)
    7.First Solar ($1.46 billion)
    8.Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
    9.EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
    10.Amonix ($5.9 million)
    11.Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
    12.Abound Solar ($400 million)*
    13.A123 Systems ($279 million)*
    14.Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
    15.Johnson Controls ($299 million)
    16.Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
    17.ECOtality ($126.2 million)
    18.Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
    19.Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
    20.Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
    21.Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
    22.Range Fuels ($80 million)*
    23.Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
    24.Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
    25.Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
    26.GreenVolts ($500,000)
    27.Vestas ($50 million)
    28.LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
    29.Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
    30.Navistar ($39 million)
    31.Satcon ($3 million)*
    32.Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
    33.Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)

    *Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.

    Net loss to taxpayers: $7.4 billion.