Pennsylvania’s nuclear dilemma: should the state bail out plants?

  • By Marie Cusick, StateImpact Pennsylvania

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Exelon’s Three Mile Island plant is scheduled to prematurely close in September 2019. The company has been lobbying for help from the state to keep it open. Photo courtesy: Exelon

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, December 14, 2018:

Pennsylvania could avoid a “devastating and permanent blow” to its economy and environment if it considers the ways other states have helped bail out their own failing nuclear plants… that’s according to a recent legislative report.

Two of Pennsylvania’s five nuclear plants are soon set to close prematurely. 

Exelon plans to shutter its Three Mile Island plant in 2019, and FirstEnergy announced it would retire its Beaver Valley plant ahead of schedule, in 2021.

The early closures are part of a broader trend across the U.S. as the industry has struggled amid slowing demand for electricity, high operating costs, and competition from cheaper natural gas and renewables.

In recent years, other states have used various, controversial mechanisms to give billions of dollars to prop up their ailing nuclear plants by recognizing them as a source of carbon-free power… and there’s a big push to do something similar in Pennsylvania.

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss a possible bailout are Rep.Thomas Mehaffie (R- Dauphin) and David Fein, Senior Vice President of State Governmental and Regulatory Affairs at Exelon. 

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Rep.Thomas Mehaffie

Also joining the program are Mark Szybist, senior attorney, Climate and Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, Stephanie Catarino Wissman, Executive Director, Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, and Glen Thomas, President GT Power Group.

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