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Jan-18-2010 12:59printcomments

Florida Power and Light Billion-Dollar Rate Hike Denied

Does this signal a death knell for nuclear power?

Nuclear power

(CHICAGO) - The Florida Public Service Commission (PUC) denied Florida Power and Light (FPL) Company's $1.27 billion rate-hike request, granting instead a minuscule $75.5 million in a decision that could be the death knell for not only two proposed nuclear reactors in Florida, but several elsewhere in the U.S.

"FPL's outrageous attempts to jam their $10 billion square nuclear peg down the round hole of fiscal responsibility, environmental protection, and public health concerns was judged by the Florida PUC for what it truly was -- a greedy, irresponsible energy boondoggle," asserts David Kraft, Director of Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) of Chicago, an Illinois safe-energy advocacy and nuclear power watchdog group.

"The facts against uneconomic nuclear power spoke volumes for themselves, and the public and the environment of Florida were spared irreparable harm," Kraft states.

The Florida PUC awarded a mere $75.5 million to FPL, only 6% of the $1.27 billion requested. As a result FPL announced it would halt work on over $10 billion in projects, including two nuclear reactors it had proposed building at the current Turkey Point nuclear power station.

While the economic downturn certainly played a role in lowering demand for the additional power in Florida, many of FPL's demands for advance payments, higher guaranteed profit margin, and less public scrutiny in constructing nuclear plants were beyond the level of outrageous even the Florida PUC would tolerate.

"The reality is that FPL is going to have to make do in these difficult economic times," stated Public Utility Commissioner Nathan Skop. Just like the rest of Florida residents have to, and would have had to do more so had FPL gotten the larger rate hike request.

The decision may have negative repercussions nationally for the handful of other newly proposed nuclear reactors, as the long-moribund nuclear industry has tried to market a self-proclaimed "nuclear renaissance." Nuclear power advocates in Congress have had the temerity to seek unlimited taxpayer-guaranteed construction loans for new nuclear reactor projects in some versions of recent energy legislation. Pro-nuclear advocates in state government in Georgia have seen to it that consumers will be forced to pay for construction of newly proposed reactors before they are completed, whether they get finished or not.

"The only way that nuclear plants can be built in the U.S. is if government officials behave as if they were from Belarus or China," Kraft asserts, "forcing fiscally irresponsible projects like Turkey Point FL and Plant Vogtle GA on captive taxpayers and ratepayers against their will.

"Fortunately, the Florida PUC's recent trip to Oz paid off handsomely for Florida ratepayers. Their decision required considerable brains, heart and courage to stand up against typical nuclear utility bullying and unreasonable demands," Kraft notes.

"We can only hope that members of Congress show more brains, heart and courage, and evolve more backbone to fight off similar unreasonable nuclear utility demands for billions in loan guarantees the nuclear industry seeks in upcoming climate and energy legislation," Kraft says.

"If this Florida mutiny -- or is it an 'enlightenment'? -- spreads, it could be the death-knell for the other nuclear reactor projects," Kraft concludes.


Nuclear Energy Information Service is a non-profit nuclear power watchdog and safe-energy education organization.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Shan July 17, 2012 8:18 pm (Pacific time)

As a former stefafr at the Salem News, I can concur with Victor on the abuse on the Call-in for Cowards fiasco (which occurred under previous ownership, I might add). Often, it was the same drunk dialer who just happened to have the same hateful agenda as our publisher at the time, so his rants got printed. But our readers had no way of knowing it was the same whack-job. It simply was signed Caller from Salem or something equally innocuous. The really weird part is that the Salem News, at the same time, had a policy of signing editorials. Every single one. It was one of the few honorable policies instituted during that regime, and one I'd like to see implemented at every newspaper. Edit page editors and editorial writers are great at sounding high-minded and superior, but they often work anonymously as well. I understand they represent the official stance of the paper, but I'd venture that more often than not their simply a mouthpiece for the publisher, not the newspaper or magazine as a whole. Clearly, a newspaper can't take the journalistic high road on anonymous comments when the paper's voice on the editorial page does the same.

Editor: Hey Shan, I think you are addressing the Mass. Salem News?

John Farmer January 18, 2010 4:53 pm (Pacific time)

Planet killer David Kraft comes up with one lie after another. This paid hack will go to any length to smear scientific fact. Why the Salem-News would give this paid hack a forum is beyond me? Planet killer David Kraft along with his other anti-nuclear planet killing friends realizes that over 50 year period nuclear is the cheapest of all energy sources. It is a sad day when a commission who is suppose to look out for the long term interest of the consumer makes such arbitrary decision that will lead to long term uncertainties that will plague the entire state for decades. During Florida’s last week of a harsh January cold spell natural gas prices went up to $14.12 and $14.99 per MMBtu. The 52 week low was around 4.00 perMMBtu. This price flux in energy cost is not the message you want to send to a business considering relocating to the Sunshine state. The cost of electricity produced from Floridians current nuclear fleet had no such price flux. If the Florida moves towards Wind and Solar they will see natural gas prices that could easily reach above $30.00 per MMBtu and stay there. Not only is Wind and Solar expensive in there on right but they elevate the cost of natural gas. Wind and Solar have very low energy efficiencies and must be backed up with on demand natural gas power plants or the electrical grid will collapse (ie…brown outs.) This is certainly decision will be reconsidered once economic factors come to play. I just hope that Florida Public Service Commission does so before half the state is submerged by the rising ocean levels. What this planet needs to save itself is thousands of Integrated Fast Reactors. Viva the Nuclear Renaissance, Jfarmer9

jimmy January 18, 2010 1:34 pm (Pacific time)

When the rolling blackouts hit Florida, David Kraft will be nice and cozy in his Chicago office. What happened to nuclear power being so cheap we wont even need to meter it?

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