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Utility Sues Nuclear Energy Institute For Extortion via OilPrice.com

We aren’t lawyers, but extortion sounds like a serious charge. NextEra Energy, parent of Florida Power and Light and owner of several nuclear power stations around the country recently launched a lawsuit against the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the nuclear industry’s trade group.

NextEra, which is also a major player in the renewable energy business, withdrew from NEI after that group backed the Trump Energy Department’s ill-fated proposed rulemaking. This measure was designed to prop up less-than-economically-viable nuclear and coal-fired power generating stations disguised as a reliability booster for the nation’s power network. However, the proposed rule did not even pass muster with the President’s own Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Nevertheless NextEra was not happy about the NEI’s stance, accusing the organization of trying to instill a false panic about reliability.

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According to the lawsuit, NEI denied NextEra access to its nuclear personnel data base without an $860,000 payment. NextEra claimed this was like being forced to pay for membership yet again. That’s where the charge of extortion comes in.

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What does this say about nuclear policy issues and splits within the industry? Do we have two warring industry groups: regulated nuclear power generators, who are plugging along just fine, economically versus nuclear power generators experiencing difficult conditions in competitive power markets. The latter group look desperate for any lifeline. This is often the fate of high cost producers in a commodities market. (Not to be unsympathetic, but these firms willingly chose to enter competitive wholesale electricity markets. Nobody forced them.)

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