Michigan is promoting nuclear over renewables


Writing in Bridge, Michigan, Jeff Alson, a retired EPA engineer and a board member of Alliance To Halt Fermi 3, urges Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and the Michigan legislature to end their costlysupport of existing and new nuclear power plants. He writes:

“Even though the U.S. nuclear industry has not built a single nuclear plant on schedule or on budget in the last 50 years, the governor and Legislature are also promoting nuclear subsidies, which could strangle renewable investments and raise Michigan’s electricity rates, already the highest in the Midwest. Not surprisingly, they don’t want to admit this to taxpayers and ratepayers.”

Alson points out that “in the recent state budget, with just two sentences on page 197, Michigan taxpayers will give $150 million to Holtec, which owns the 50-year old Palisades nuclear plant (pictured) on the Lake Michigan shore.” The Palisades reactor is currently closed, but Holtec has been making a grab for subsidies to reopen the plant, instead of decommissioning it, the original basis under which Holtec acquired the plant. Reopening a closed reactor is unprecedented. Holtec does not have an operating license for Palisades and the company has never operated a nuclear power plant.

Adds Alson: “Holtec’s demands include a $300 million blank check from Michigan taxpayers, a state commitment to force ratepayers to pay above-market rates for its expensive electricity (which could total billions of dollars over a 10-year period), and billions of dollars in additional subsidies and loan guarantees from the federal government. The initial $150 million gift to Holtec in the new state budget, added without any analysis or public input, appears to be the first installment of what will be a never-ending stream of state and federal subsidies.”

Alson also points out a loophole in a new state bill that appears to prioritize a 100% renewable energy transition but would in fact allow nuclear power to “supply up to 40 percent of Michigan electricity, or about twice today’s level” under the law.

In a demand for state government transparency, Alson concludes: “If Michigan taxpayers and ratepayers are given the facts and the opportunity, I am convinced they will demand that their dollars be spent on renewables and not on more nuclear white elephants.”

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