The massive subsidy for solar takes nothing away from the New Jersey victory, which benefited from a stronger and better-coordinated efforts by a nuclear industry weakened by the 50 year war against it.
In a speech to Wall Street analysts this morning, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president, Maria Korsnick, warned against “a myopic focus on short-term prices“ and criticized efforts “that advance renewables while closing nuclear plants” — strong language for an industry that is frequently taciturn to a fault.
In contrast to other state subsidies for nuclear, the New Jersey legislation sets no time limit for the operation of the state’s nuclear plants. While the subsidy must be re-valued by the state’s regulatory commission every three years, it could last until the end of the plants’ licensing life and even subsidize their extension.
Nuclear plants, experts agree, could last for 80 to 100 years or even longer, if they are properly maintained and regularly updated.
Korsnick warned that all seven operating nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be replaced by coal and natural gas if state legislatures fail to follow the lead of New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
There will be another hearing on the fate of Pennsylvania’s nuclear plants next Tuesday.
For pro-nuclear advocates, the lesson from New Jersey is clear: advocacy works. From Sweden and France to New Jersey and Illinois, nuclear plants can be kept on-line, but they must be constantly fought for against those who have, for four decades, sought to replace them with fossil fuels and renewables — no matter the economic or environmental cost.