September 18, 2007: Nuclear Power Plant Will Cause Higher Rates

  • September 18, 2007
Leah Steinberg

For Immediate Release: September 18, 2007

Sale of Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant Will Cause Higher Rates, More Nuclear Pollution, and Loss of Control Over Wisconsin’s Nuclear Future

MADISON – The Citizens Utility Board and Clean Wisconsin strongly disagree with the decision made today by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) to approve the sale of the Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant to an unregulated subsidiary of an out-of-state utility holding company.

In a 2-1 vote the PSC determined that the sale of the nuclear plant was in the public interest.

We Energies, the owner of Point Beach, agreed to sell the nuclear power plant in December 2006 to a subsidiary of FPL Energy, Inc., a utility holding company headquartered in Florida. “The sale of Point Beach to an out-of-state corporation continues Wisconsin’s path down the misguided slope of energy deregulation,” said Charlie Higley, CUB executive director. “The sale will lead to higher energy costs for We Energies’ customers, more nuclear pollution, and loss of control over Wisconsin’s nuclear future.”

In testimony before the PSC, CUB and Clean Wisconsin contended that the sale would threaten the interests of Wisconsin residents and businesses by allowing an unregulated company to own and operate Point Beach. CUB and Clean Wisconsin argued that not only will electricity rates increase compared to We Energies continued ownership of the plant, but that the PSC will no longer have control over the future of the plant and oversight of nuclear waste generated and stored at the reactor.

“Today’s decision turns Wisconsin’s nuclear future over to out-of-state corporations,” said Katie Nekola, Clean Wisconsin energy program director. “The sale will result in a Florida corporation generating more nuclear waste on the shore of Lake Michigan for decades even though there’s no place to dispose of it, and the State of Wisconsin won’t be able to do anything about it.”

In today’s decision, the PSC imposed “conditions” that purportedly bind FPL Energy and any future owner of Point Beach regarding storage of nuclear waste at the reactor and the clean-up of radioactive contamination at the site when the plant ceases to operate.

CUB and Clean Wisconsin pointed out in briefs to the PSC that the “conditions” will not be enforceable, which means that FPL Energy or a new owner of Point Beach can pursue their business interests at the reactor without fear of enforcement by the PSC.

“Transferring control of arguably the most dangerous industry in Wisconsin to a business not regulated by the State defies common sense,” stated Higley. “Point Beach was built to serve the interests of Wisconsin’s energy customers, not the profit interests of an out-of-state company.”