Friday, August 2, 2013

Utility Takes Tax Dollars to Not Go Nuclear

Check out this article from the Tampa Bay Times about Duke Energy's scraped nuclear power plant in Florida.  It details an interesting approach the 2006 Florida legislature took in developing nuclear power plants.  Instead of companies paying the upfront costs for developing new power plants, the Florida legislature put the public on the hook for any start up costs-whether the power plant is built of not.  In other words, there was no risk to the companies if they did a bad job and never built anything.  
The Florida House chamber.  Click for photo credit.

I don't know if Duke Energy did a good job or not, but the plant they were planning is not being built.  So, now taxpayers still have to pay 1.5 billion dollars and the shareholders in Duke Energy keep 150 million dollars of public money.  If Florida spent the money on a conventional power plant in 2006, it would probably have been built already.  Or, they could have invested it in wind or solar.  Instead, the taxpayers pay a billion and a half and get nothing.

You would never know that the legislature of Florida is full of anti-government libertarian leaning officials.  

For full disclosure, long-time On the Brink readers know that I am not a supporter of nuclear energy.  While I think that it may one day provide a safe reliable source of energy, the long-term problems with waste, potential for terrorism, and overall safety issues make me leery.  The waste will be around for tens of thousands of years.  Do we want to saddle future generations with the poisons produced in nuclear energy?  To me it is short term gain with long term repercussions.

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