Dominion wants money for their mistakes at North Anna 3
[Update: This legislation passed, largely without comment from the media.]
The Virginia State Legislature is rushing thru legislation that would give Dominion half a billion dollars for the money they have already spent on third reactor at North Anna.
A HALF BILLION DOLLAR FOLLY AND DOMINION WANTS MORE?
Dominion wants to be reimbursed $570,000,000 by ratepayers for a project unlikely to be built. Dominion last year abandoned its Wisconsin nuke as “uneconomic”, yet wants Virginia customers to pay even if this uneconomic new dinosaur never produces one kilowatt (exactly what happened in the 1980s with the first North Anna 3).
PEOPLES ALLIANCE FOR CLEAN ENERGY (PACE) OPPOSES GENERAL ASSEMBLY WILLINGNESS TO ACCOMMODATE DOMINION
SB 459 sponsored by Sen. Stosch – Henrico for Dominion Virginia Power is currently making its way through the General Assembly. It has already passed the Senate 40 -0 and will likely pass the House. (Dominion is the largest contributor to Virginia legislative campaigns and does not discriminate between Democrats and Republicans.)
Dominion will be authorized to recoup up to 70% of $570,000,000 it has already spent to obtain licensing and construct North Anna Nuclear Unit 3 by passing on costs in ratepayers’ monthly bills. The bill will also permit Dominion to pass on future construction costs to Virginia ratepayers.
PACE asserts that SB459 is yet another attempt to bilk the VA ratepayers by socializing the risks of new nuclear constructions and privatizing the profits.
The plant might never come on line, but ratepayers will have been committed to pay costs of construction, and if the plant never generates electricity, for costs associated with subsequent dismantlement. This has happened before with VEPCO on the same site in the early 80’s. Ratepayers paid the dismantling costs of two units that were never completed.*
Jerry Rosenthal of the Peoples Alliance for Clean Energy said “Virginia homeowners, businesses and industry are offered higher electric rates with increased risks and less regulatory oversight in exchange for a pie-in-the-sky proposal. This is a lose-lose situation for the taxpayers and ratepayers.”
Dominion has not officially committed to build North Anna 3. Furthermore, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will not be approving any new projects until October 2014 when the Waste Confidence ruling is expected.
It is irresponsible of Dominion to build a third nuclear unit on a site adjacent to an active earthquake fault (knowledge of which they suppressed in the 70’s) and also because to date no solution has been found to the ongoing accumulation of high level radioactive waste on site.
PACE believes that the VA ratepayer should not be paying for Dominion’s poor planning or to assure shareholders high dividends. PACE would prefer that Dominion abandon the third nuclear unit and instead invest in conservation, energy efficiency, smart meters, smart grid and renewables.
PACE would hope that Virginia legislators put ratepayers’ interests above those of Dominion and its shareholders.
* Nuclear power has a history of cost overruns and construction delays. Some companies have abandoned the projects but ratepayers are still paying construction and other costs. (In the case of Crystal River 3, Duke Energy closed the plant after spending $2 billion for worthless upgrades, repairs, and replacement power. These costs were passed on to Florida ratepayers. In Florida by law, Duke Energy can collect up to $1,466 billion for repairs, operation maintenance and construction.) It’s been called “the gift that keeps on giving” and it appears Virginia ratepayers will be giving as well.
For other disturbing information on Dominion – see this report on their shareholder meeting
Closure of the Kewaunee Reactor