FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 13 , 2021
Chicago – On a day that saw the Illinois legislature approve another $694 million in nuclear power bailout money to profitable Exelon corporation, safe-energy activists in cities all over the country conducted actions and wrote to their members of Congress, urging them to remove an estimated $46 billion in proposed nuclear subsidies from the upcoming Reconciliation legislation.
Chicago was among those conducting a public action, as safe-energy advocates leafleted and demonstrated outside the downtown Chicago headquarters of Exelon Corporation, before delivering information packets and letters to the offices of Senators Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. [NOTE: the federal offices remain totally closed and unstaffed due to COVID; so the packets were mailed to the Washington D.C. offices, and sent by e-mail to the energy staffers of each Senator, both of whom acknowledged receipt of the information.]. Calls, messages and e-mails were sent to the office of every member of the Illinois Delegation to Congress.
“The ‘nuclear hostage crisis’ continues,” notes David Kraft, Director of the Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), a 40-year old safe energy advocacy organization and nuclear power critic.
Hundreds of informational fliers were distributed in Chicago, and car horns were constantly sounded in response to one placard that read, “Honk if you hate Exelon bailouts!”
Previously, over 240 organizations, including Friends of the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network, Food & Water Watch, The League of Women Voters, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and others sent a letter to Congressional leaders telling them to reject all proposals in infrastructure bills that subsidize nuclear energy, and to instead invest in a just and equitable transition to safe, clean renewable energy.
The letter opposes proposals in both the energy legislation for the larger reconciliation package (S.2291/H.R.4024) and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which together would grant up to $50 billion to prop up aging, increasingly uneconomical nuclear reactors for the next decade.
The letter highlights climate, economic, and environmental justice concerns with proposed nuclear subsidies, in addition to evidence that nuclear power is too dirty, dangerous, expensive, and slow to be a viable solution to the climate crisis.
David Kraft, director of the Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), points out an additional ominous dimension to the federal nuclear subsidies:
“The overwhelming amount of these subsidies and state-level nuclear bailout schemes would be going to utilities and an industry which have demonstrated a consistent penchant for corruption and criminal behavior in their business models,” Kraft said.
“Exelon in Illinois, the former First Energy in Ohio, SCANA in South Carolina – all have been subject to FBI investigations, federal bribery and improper lobbying charges, and outright admissions of guilt, paying hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. These are neither the business partners nor the industry America can rely on to successfully fight and win against the climate crisis,” Kraft asserts.
“Politicians had better understand that subsidizing providing the nuclear industry with bailouts is rewarding and abetting these criminal behaviors; and that they will be judged by the company they keep in the upcoming mid-term elections,” Kraft concludes.
Money spent on bailing out aging nuclear plants is money not available for building a truly green, safe-energy low-carbon energy future based on renewables, energy efficiency, energy storage and state-of-the-art transmission grids.
“These are aging facilities, whose operation and maintenance costs will increase with age,” Kraft points out. “With Exelon spinning these money-losers off into its proposed “SpinCo – LLC” in the near future, where will the money come from for needed, expensive capital investments, or accident clean up. As usual – ratepayers and taxpayers,” Kraft says.
The energy and climate portions of the Reconciliation and Infrastructure packages are expected to be debated this coming week. As NEIS has repeatedly pointed out: “You can’t build an energy future by bailing out the past.”
- David Kraft, Director, Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), (773)342-7650, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hannah Smay, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, Inc., (301) 270-6477, (208) 340-0531, email@example.com (For information on the National Day of Action against Nuclear Bailouts)
Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), is a 40-year old, safe-energy advocacy, anti-nuclear power watchdog organization based in Chicago, IL, advocating for a carbon-free/nuclear-free energy future, and environmentally responsible solutions to radioactive waste management.
For information on the National Day of Action against Nuclear Bailouts:
The Nuclear Information and Resource Service is an organization devoted to the just energy transition from nuclear to clean, renewable energy sources and advocates for a nuclear-free, carbon-free future. They are located near Washington DC in Takoma Park, Maryland.