Skip to main content

The Real Target at St. Lucie: Florida's Nuclear Cost-Recovery Law

Dennis Spurgeon
Over the past week, we've seen a spate of media activity concerning the safety of the steam generators at St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant. Despite the fact that the NRC has said that St. Lucie is safe, anti-nuclear activists are getting plenty of mileage in the local media over charges that don't hold any weight. In fact, anyone with any operating or regulatory experience says this story is complete bunk.

You can add former Department of Energy assistant secretary Dennis Spurgeon to that list. Today over at TCPalm.com, he's wondering out loud about the why behind all of this coverage. Though the text is behind a pay wall, we've excerpted this relevant passage:
Before repeating the Times' story, shouldn't this newspaper have looked into why such a biased hit piece was written in the first place? Is it an attempt to discredit the St. Lucie Nuclear Plant because its successful power upgrade (retrofit) has demonstrated that Florida's pay-as-you-go financing (also known as nuclear cost recovery) can work well and save millions of dollars in unnecessary financing costs for customers?

Anti-nuclear activists, along with the Times, oppose this method of paying for new plants and retorfits. Are they trying to spruce up their arguments by adding a safety component?
The stakes in Florida are very high, as our Richard Myers explained in a letter to the editor at the Tampa Bay Times in May 2013. With its nuclear cost recovery law in place, Florida is able to avoid the trap that would be created by loading up its electric portfolio with too much natural gas:
In 2012, Florida generated 68 percent of its electricity from natural gas, a significant increase from 47 percent in 2008. Floridians may recall that in 2008 and 2009, the state endured its highest-ever electricity costs when natural gas prices were hitting all-time highs. Five years later, Florida relies even more on natural gas.

Just like a diversified financial portfolio is important for investors, so is a diversified energy portfolio for consumers. By relying ever more heavily on natural gas, Florida is putting itself in an increasingly vulnerable position if and when natural gas prices change.
For more on the attacks in Florida on cost recovery by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, see our blog post from December 2012. It's a story we've been covering since 2009.

Comments

Joris van Dorp said…
Thanks for covering this kind of thing. Evidently, the public is being led like lambs to the slaughter by malafide anti-nuke interests. This blog provides coverage of the other side of the story. Keep it up. Eventually, debates over contentious issues like nuclear can and are won on the strength of arguments, although before the win is secured much misunderstanding and obfuscation is to be endured. The danger is that the side which has the truth in its corner gives up prematurely. I hope that does not happen.

Popular posts from this blog

Why Ex-Im Bank Board Nominations Will Turn the Page on a Dysfunctional Chapter in Washington

In our present era of political discord, could Washington agree to support an agency that creates thousands of American jobs by enabling U.S. companies of all sizes to compete in foreign markets? What if that agency generated nearly billions of dollars more in revenue than the cost of its operations and returned that money – $7 billion over the past two decades – to U.S. taxpayers? In fact, that agency, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), was reauthorized by a large majority of Congress in 2015. To be sure, the matter was not without controversy. A bipartisan House coalition resorted to a rarely-used parliamentary maneuver in order to force a vote. But when Congress voted, Ex-Im Bank won a supermajority in the House and a large majority in the Senate. For almost two years, however, Ex-Im Bank has been unable to function fully because a single Senate committee chairman prevented the confirmation of nominees to its Board of Directors. Without a quorum

New Home for Our Blog: Join Us on NEI.org

On February 27, NEI launched the new NEI.org . We overhauled the public site, framing all of our content around the National Nuclear Energy Strategy. So, what's changed? Our top priority was to put you, the user, first. Now you can quickly get the information you need.  You'll enjoy visiting the site with its intuitive navigation, social media integration and compelling and shareable visuals.  We've added a feature called Nuclear Now, which showcases the latest industry news and resources like fact sheets and reports. It's one of the first sections you'll see on our home page and it can be accessed anywhere throughout the site by clicking on the atom symbol in the top right corner of the page. Most importantly for you, our loyal NEI Nuclear Notes readers, is that we've migrated the blog to the new site. Moving forward,  all blog posts will be published in the News section , along with our press releases, Nuclear Energy Overview stories and more. Just l

Hurricane Harvey Couldn't Stop the South Texas Project

The South Texas Project As Hurricane Harvey battered southeast Texas over the past week, the devastation and loss of life in its wake have kept our attention and been a cause of grief. Through the tragedy, many stories of heroics and sacrifice have emerged. Among those who have sacrificed are nearly 250 workers who have been hunkered down at the South Texas Project (STP) nuclear plant in Matagorda County, Texas. STP’s priorities were always the safety of their employees and the communities they serve. We are proud that STP continued to operate at full power throughout the storm. It is a true testament to the reliability and resiliency of not only the operators but of our industry. The world is starting to notice what a feat it is to have maintained operations through the catastrophic event. Forbes’ Rod Adams did an excellent job describing the contribution of these men and women : “STP storm crew members deserve to be proud of the work that they are doing. Their famil