Shared from the 5/11/2019 Sandusky Register eEdition

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We fully support nuclear power fee

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Register photo/MATT WESTERHOLD

The control panel inside the Davis Besse Nuclear Power Station might have a 1980s look, but the technology, efficiency and safety protocols at the plant are top-notch.

The Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants in Ohio will either get a boost from residents or they will shut down. It’s a stark choice.

We support House Bill 6, which would impose a $2.50 per month fee for every residential electric customer in the state, and other fees for businesses and industry, that will go to support and sustain the two nuclear power stations. The nuclear plants power 1.7 million homes by providing 2,176 megawatts of capacity representing 14 percent of Ohio’s overal generation capacity. That’s a substantial, market stabilizing share.

The two plants also have a substantial workforce. At Davis-Besse, there are 600 employees, with more than 90 of those folks being from Erie County and the balance spread across Ottawa, Sandusky and Lucas counties. The payroll for just the Erie County employees is $7 million annually. But the employment the plants provide is just one good reason among many to support the fee.

Market stabilization is a major reason and one of many other reasons for Ohio lawmakers and for residents to support this legislation. The two power plants have a 40-plus year track record of producing energy locally, reliably, safely and carbon-free. Nuclear energy has transformed from a feared technology in the 1970s to a technology mastered, successful and green.

These plants are structurally sound, clean, safe and operated by dedicated professionals. The nuclear waste they’ve produced in all the time they’ve operated is relatively small, and safely stored on premises, encased and protected by a security force that could challenge an army of invaders. Davis-Besse and Perry have a successful track record, one that we should be proud to support.

America’s future and the planet’s future are dependent on building an infrastructure that does not deplete the world’s resources or harm its ecosystems. The scientists who built Davis-Besse and the Perry power stations knew that back then, and the years since have proved they were correct.

Nobody should undervalue the ability to produce clean energy.

If these facilities close, there is no carbon-free energy source that will be able to fill the void. Solar and wind energy are dependent on Mother Nature, which is anything but predictable when it comes to energy production. They cannot now produce energy in a predictable, reliable way, and will be entirely unable to fill the vacuum in the energy grid should nuclear energy production in Ohio end.

Nor can wind and solar energy be stored. Gas will likely become the dominant energy sources, and prices for consumers will inevitably increase as the competition and diversity in the energy market is diminished.

If nuclear energy was an experiment in the 1970s, it succeeded splendidly, and maintaining it as a clean energy source is extremely important for Ohio. We urge readers to let their representatives know they support House Bill 6 and they support Davis-Besse and the Perry nuclear power stations.

Ohio’s two plants are highly reliable, operating at full power more than 91 percent of the time, nearly twice that of gas or coal plants and three to four times of wind and solar. Lawmakers should approve the fee and residents should support nuclear energy in Ohio.

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