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Despite new federal proposal, Exelon still wants state bailout for nuke plants

Monday, Aug 2, 2021

* Steve Daniels at Crain’s

A $6 billion program to bail out unprofitable nuclear plants is part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill the U.S. Senate will consider this week, but it won’t save two nukes Exelon has said it plans to close this fall.

Even if the federal bailout becomes law, it doesn’t offer enough financial security to keep the Byron and Dresden plants operating, the company said today. […]

“While we remain encouraged by growing support in Congress to preserve nuclear energy to help combat climate change, the provisions currently under consideration in the Senate infrastructure bill do not provide the policy and funding certainty we need and could take months or even years to come to fruition, if at all,” the company said in a statement. “Meanwhile, our Byron and Dresden nuclear plants must be refueled this fall—Byron in September and Dresden in November. If we refuel both stations to delay their retirement, we will be committed to running the plants for up to an additional two years, during which we could face revenue shortfalls in the hundreds of millions of dollars. We can’t risk taking those losses with no guarantee of a legislative solution.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

23 Comments
  1. - Chicagonk - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 3:47 pm:

    Exelon and Comed really have extortion down pat.


  2. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 3:51 pm:

    This is why the Justice Department needs to send executives to prison for the crimes their companies commit because they direct their company to commit those crimes.


  3. - Ok - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 3:55 pm:

    “Smartest guys in the room” in the Senate Presidents office may want to double-check their latest delay-defer strategy. Not even 12 hours old and already dead.


  4. - facts matter - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 3:55 pm:

    == This is why the Justice Department needs to send executives to prison for the crimes their companies commit because they direct their company to commit those crimes. ==

    What crimes exactly? No one has admitted to any crimes. The ComEd deferred prosecution specifically states they do not admit to any crimes.


  5. - Frank talks - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 3:56 pm:

    Isn’t this what being a shareholder is? Rich folks gambling.
    I know I don’t get to the blackjack table with a minimum subsidy when I put my money in. I’m only going to be a shareholder at this table for a short time, if I can be assured I won’t lose.


  6. - Dancing Bears - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 3:59 pm:

    I’m still not convinced that those companies even want the plants to continue operating. If they can squeeze any more money out of government they may let them stay open, but the fact they keep seeking bail out’s is a pretty clear indication of the financial stability of these nuclear plants. If Exelon can walk away from a money pit while having the blame placed on the governor or enviro’s they will end the day happy.


  7. - Asteroid of Caution - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 4:00 pm:

    OK … you believe Exelon?


  8. - Back to the Future - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 4:14 pm:

    Interesting comment by Frank talks.
    It’s not exactly gambling if you hold all the cards.


  9. - Lawman - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 4:31 pm:

    Excelon is a continuing money pit for Illinois taxpayers. They will continue to take, take, take subsidies from Illinois taxpayers.


  10. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 4:31 pm:

    ===deferred prosecution states they do not admit to any crimes===

    So they were just accidentally bribing Illinois public officials and making arrangements for unqualified people to get jobs at their company?

    Is it normal business practice to hire whoever a state elected official says to hire?

    I’m not a court of law, and I barely count as the court of public opinion, but I have seen enough to know Exelon/ComEd is guilty and believe someone needs to be personally responsible for that. I’ll be sure to get myself excluded from any jury for the issue, though. But they’re guilty AF.


  11. - Socially DIstant watcher - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 4:33 pm:

    How does the state commit to a new subsidy without knowing whether the feds will throw some no strings money at the same issue? Maybe there is an impasse, but this is a bigger reason to take no action until everyone determines how much state cash they really need.


  12. - Southern Skeptic - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 4:34 pm:

    They’re still playing chicken. And trying to get ahead of their earnings call this Wednesday.


  13. - NorthsideNoMore - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 4:51 pm:

    Let’s have a good ole grid system failure then see what everyone wants to do. “Umm… Houston you (we) have a problem”. Reliability matters.


  14. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 4:52 pm:

    Deferred prosecution not the same as guilty but in my opinion paying that hefty fine might be a sign
    I thought these guys were smart business men don’t they believe in capitalism. They want subsidies have the state take over. Read Kucinich book on light and power.


  15. - Sue - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 4:54 pm:

    Facts of the Matter- Comed’s deferred prosecution agreement notwithstanding- my experience is that few companies volunteer to pay fines at the amounts Comed agreed to only do so if they fear a conviction


  16. - Asteroid of Caution - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 4:55 pm:

    Exelon’s approach reminds me of the Hungry Hungry Hippos game.


  17. - low level - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 6:31 pm:

    Close already.


  18. - JS Mill - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 7:56 pm:

    =Let’s have a good ole grid system failure then see what everyone wants to do. “Umm… Houston you (we) have a problem”. Reliability matters.=

    But the market doesn’t need their electricity or it would be able to sell it for profit. You know, market economies etc.


  19. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 8:35 pm:

    ===But the market doesn’t need their electricity or it would be able to sell it for profit. You know, market economies etc.===

    I respect you JS Mill, and always read your comments and learn a lot from them.

    The potential market failure of rolling brown outs and selective black outs is the reason the government is at the table. Necessary public regulatory involvement distorts the market.

    This isn’t a free market situation. This is a highly regulated public service and we subsidize it because of that.


  20. - jadebenn - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 8:35 pm:

    @JS Mill:
    =But the market doesn’t need their electricity or it would be able to sell it for profit. You know, market economies etc.
    And sometimes the markets don’t reflect the actual costs of the competition (natural gas). You know, externalities, climate change, etc.


  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 2, 21 @ 9:38 pm:

    Don’t forget the billions in subsidies for renewables since 2007. And yet the needle has barely moved.


  22. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Aug 3, 21 @ 8:02 am:

    @47th- the same goes for me, I always enjoy and learn from your posts.

    My recollection is that there is an excess of capacity in the marketplace. That is what is under cutting excelon. Is that not correct?

    I actually support nuclear power but get tired of corporations demanding handouts all of the time. Especially profitable ones. I would rather that the fed or other public entity take over the nuclear fleet at this point given how much public money is being paid directly to them.

    With respect.


  23. - Old Illini - Tuesday, Aug 3, 21 @ 8:04 am:

    Currently, less that 25% of the electric power in Illinois is CO2-producing. As fossil fuel power plants get phased out, nuclear is the most viable 24/7 replacement. Illinois is the nations’s leader in nuclear and non-CO2 power plants and it needs to stay that way. If Byron and Dresden go away they will probably be replaced by fossil plants and fossil imported electricity. Fossil fuel is cheap and replacing it to reduce CO2 will be costly.


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