Nuclear Matters’ Sen. Evan Bayh on Department of Energy Summit on Improving the Economics of America’s Nuclear Power Plants

Policymakers Must Implement Solutions to Prevent Premature Nuclear Plant Closures, Loss of These Reliable Producers of Clean Energy

Washington, D.C. (May 19, 2016) – Nuclear Matters co-chair, former Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN), issued the following statement on the Department of Energy Summit on Improving the Economics of America’s Nuclear Power Plants held today in Washington, D.C.

“This summit provides an excellent opportunity to shine a light on the economic challenges currently facing America’s nuclear energy plants and the unfortunate consequences that would result from continued premature plant retirements.  By convening stakeholders from across the policymaker, regulatory and industry communities, Secretary Moniz and the Department of Energy have demonstrated the urgency and level of focus that should be accorded to this issue.  

In order to stem the tide of premature nuclear plant closures and retain the many benefits these facilities provide, we need policymakers – especially at the state level – to put in place solutions that appropriately value nuclear plants for their carbon-free, reliable energy production as well as their role as economic drivers in their communities.  The good news is, a number of states are recognizing the need to preserve these facilities, and solutions that value nuclear plants for these important attributes are being presented.  These include the proposed Next Generation Energy Plan in Illinois, legislation recently under consideration in Connecticut, and New York State’s proposed Clean Energy Standard (CES) – although the CES should apply to all of the state’s nuclear energy plants.  All of these plans are noteworthy for their recognition of nuclear for its carbon-free benefits, in the same way that other sources of generation are credited for their unique attributes.

The truth is that we need our existing nuclear fleet to meet our clean energy goals and reach a greener, more environmentally sustainable future.  These plants provide 63 percent of our carbon-free energy, operate with an average capacity factor of 92 percent, and, according to a recent report from the Brattle Group, contribute $60 billion to U.S. gross domestic product annually.  These are critical benefits that we must work to maintain.”