Pennsylvania lawmakers seek to prevent premature closing of nuclear power plants
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Pennsylvania lawmakers seek to prevent premature closing of nuclear power plants

Members of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives and Senate sent memos to legislative members on Monday calling for action to prevent the premature closures of the Three Mile Island and Beaver Valley nuclear power plants.

The memos call for the state to recognize nuclear power plants for their “significant contribution to this state’s zero-carbon energy production.” Currently, the state’s five nuclear power plants generate 93 percent of the state’s zero-carbon electricity. The legislatures state that a change is necessary in order to fix the “flawed” electric market that puts nuclear plants at a disadvantage.

The Three Mile Island nuclear power plant is expected to shut down in October. The Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plants are expected to shut down in 2021. The memos state that nuclear power plant closures would result in $4.6 billion of annual costs. This includes $1.86 billion in costs associated with carbon and air pollutant emissions.

The state’s nuclear power plants are stated as creating 16,000 full-time in-state jobs. They avoid the release of 37 million tons of CO2 annually. The state receives $69 million in net state taxes from the plants.

The memo to all members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives was sponsored by Representative Thomas L. Mehaffie, III. The memo to all members of the Pennsylvania Senate was sponsored by Senators Ryan Aument, John Yudichak, John Gordner, Lisa Boscola, Mike Folmer and Elder Vogel.

Illinois and New York have previously enacted state laws that provide Zero-Emission Credits (ZEC) to their states’ nuclear power plants. New York’s law was upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in October. The Illinois law was upheld by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in September. New Jersey’s Legislature passed a similar law in April. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved the ZEC program in November.