January 11, 2016: CUB Opposes Repeal of Nuclear Ratepayer Protection Law

  • January 11, 2016
Leah Steinberg

For Immediate Release:   January 11, 2016
More Information:             Tom Content, 608-251-3322 x. 12, 414-550-4712 (cell)

CUB: Citizens Utility Board Opposes Repeal
of Wisconsin’s Nuclear Ratepayer Protection Law

MADISON — Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin (CUB) opposes passage of Wisconsin Assembly Bill 384.  AB 384 would repeal statutory language that helps protect Wisconsin’s electric utility ratepayers from the extraordinarily high costs of nuclear power.

“The cost to build the newest nuclear plants in the U.S., Georgia’s Vogtle reactors, is projected to be a staggering $17 billion dollars.  The project is already $3 billion dollars over budget, and at least three years behind schedule.  Wisconsin law helps protect our ratepayers from a similar economic catastrophe, and should not be repealed,” stated Kurt Runzler, CUB’s Acting Executive Director.

Wisconsin law requires that before a nuclear plant can be built, the Public Service Commission must find that the plant is “economically advantageous” to ratepayers based upon the costs of construction, operation, and decommissioning. Potentially permanent on-site storage of nuclear fuel waste adds hundreds of millions of dollars in cost.  The cost of such storage at the recently closed Kewaunee nuclear plant near Green Bay is currently estimated to be $342 million through 2073.

”Ratepayers are well served by the common sense protections under Wisconsin’s current law,” Runzler said.

AB 384 would also place nuclear power on Wisconsin’s energy priority list for the first time, ahead of natural gas fired power plants.  However, new nuclear plants cost approximately five times more per/megawatt than new combined-cycle natural gas plants, such as Wisconsin Power and Light’s proposed Riverside natural gas plant outside Beloit, making new nuclear plants cost prohibitive compared to a reasonable alternative.

“CUB believes repealing Wisconsin’s nuclear ratepayer protection law, and the inclusion of nuclear power before natural gas fired generators on the energy priority list, sends the wrong public policy signal to the Public Service Commission,” Runzler stated.