Demise Of New Harris Nukes Is An Important Public Victory Towards A Clean
… after Duke-Progress wasted $70 million and eight years that should have been
used to help slow global warming
DURHAM, N.C., May 3, 2013
DURHAM, N.C., May 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --NC WARN Executive
Director Jim Warren issued the following statement today:
"Duke Energy's cancellation yesterday of licensing efforts to build two
nuclear reactors at subsidiary Progress Energy's Harris nuclear plant is good
news – but it comes with a taint.
The Shearon Harris failure perfectly typifies why the US nuclear "renaissance"
is making global warming worse. It is tragic that, against our vigorous
warnings, Duke-Progress threw away eight years and $70 million – while
blocking widespread advances in energy-saving programs, solar and wind, and
combined heat and power, which together could allow phase-out of all
fossil-fueled power in the Carolinas and help avoid the soaring electricity
rates that are hammering families, small businesses and local governments.
NC WARN first began contesting the now-flailing "renaissance" in 2005, and
shortly afterward formally opposed the Harris project before the US Nuclear
Regulatory Commission and, in long-range planning dockets, at the NC Utilities
Commission. Licensing efforts for Harris had been largely suspended the last
couple of years, but not officially laid to rest until yesterday.
Duke will seek to make Progress Energy customers, instead of corporate
stockholders, pay for this blunder – and will likely try to add a mark-up,
with profit, on top of the $70 million spent. That won't be easy, especially
because Progress didn't seek prior Commission approval of the "reasonableness
and prudency" for this project the way Duke did for its proposed Lee project.
The nuclear industry would prefer that people think the main cause for the
Harris cancellation is the low price of natural gas, but other key reasons –
most of which we warned of beginning years ago – include:
oDuke-Progress' perpetual exaggeration of demand growth, which we've been
contesting since 2007 at the NC Utilities Commission, which has annually
sided with the utilities;
othe steady drop in prices of renewable power technologies as they are
adopted in non-monopoly states and other countries;
oa rapidly changing energy market and the electric industry's own dramatic
warning in January that utilities such as Duke cannot keep locking out
competition – especially from distributed sources such as rooftop solar;
oCarolina ratepayers' vigorous and growing opposition to Duke's business
model of raising rates repeatedly to build unneeded power plants;
othe increasing strength of the Consumers Against Rate Hikes alliance's in
contesting the "Annual Rate Hike Bill" Duke must have if it is to go
forward with that business model;
odesign, construction, and fabrication problems – and the promise of more
ahead – that have already led to large cost overruns and delays at the two
US projects underway in Georgia and South Carolina, which make it
questionable whether any new US nuclear plants will be completed; and
othe ongoing federal lawsuit, by NC WARN and allies, contending that the
AP1000 reactor design has not yet incorporated major changes demanded by
NRC experts based on the Fukushima disaster.
Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers boasted yesterday that his is now the largest
corporate utility in the world. As he heard from a variety of citizen and
business voices at that stockholders' meeting, Duke's monopoly control over
captive customers is tenuous, at best. This lumbering behemoth needs to align
its interests with those of the public, or risk becoming extinct the way other
corporate dinosaurs have in recent years."
NC WARN, founded in the late-1980s, is working to avert runaway climate and
economic chaos by pressing Duke Energy to join the clean energy revolution –
or at least stop impeding it.
SOURCE NC WARN, Durham, NC.
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