Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Explaining Exelon

Shortly before the last election, I posted that Obama may have been bought by the nuclear utility Exelon. Now there's some evidence that's the case:

Or consider Exelon Corp., the nation's largest nuclear power generator. The Waxman-Markey bill would lavish millions more tons' worth of energy-ration coupons on Exelon than the company would need to cover the CO2 emissions from its much smaller fleet of fossil electric generating units. As Amanda DeBard indicates, under Waxman-Markey, Exelon would reap about $1 billion in windfall profits annually from the sale of surplus ration coupons.
I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, it might be partial compensation for the financial disasters caused by regulatory blockage of partly-built reactors. (If interest rates are high, a slowdown is as good as a blockage as far as bankruptcy is concerned.) If you invest in nukes, you might go bankrupt or you might get a huge windfall profit. The second possibility might cause investors to take another look at nuclear power.

On the other hand, investment should not be a roll of the dice. To make matters worse, the people getting the compensation aren't the same people who went bankrupt.

On the gripping hand, it's another excuse for Joseph Romm etc. to try to ban nukes. It's similar to making a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority while their propaganda machine is still going. Even if the current administration is willing to subsidize a nuclear utility or two the next left-wing administration won't be and they'll be angrier than ever.


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