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The Recent Events Involving the Perry Nuclear Power Plant: by Dr. Jack Thompson

Thank you for helping to ensure the 2017-2018 school year got off to a great start. We have already seen significant growth and achievement in our staff and students. We remain laser focused on our mission and on the current emphasis to improve accuracy in measuring student learning and gaining clarity on the beliefs and behaviors we expect in our school culture. That being said, we cannotLake County Commissioner Jerry Cirino, Commissioner Mark Stahl of Ottawa County, U. S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Edward G. McGinnis, and Superintendent Dr. Jack Thompson met in Washington D.C. with a host of other stakeholders to discuss the preservation of nuclear energy. ignore the recent events involving the Perry Nuclear Power Plant (PNPP).  It is imperative for us to understand the situation and the future impact changes at the PNPP will have on our school system and community.  Our CFO, Lew Galante, and myself continue to be involved in all activities related to the current condition and future operations of the PNPP. As a result, we have a plethora of information from both the proponents and opponents of nuclear energy and baseload power generation. We also have established strong working relationships and lines of communication with people at the state, local, and federal level directly involved in determining the future of the PNPP. While it is impossible to include all we have learned in this article, I can offer a few bullet points I believe are pertinent to all of us: 

  • The PNPP is currently fully operational and has the potential to continue to be operational as a viable producer of electricity for many years to come.
  • Along with a number of nuclear power plants operating in competitive markets across the nation, the PNPP is in danger of closing.
  • First Energy has a $500 million debt coming due this spring they likely will be unable to get financed if market conditions do not change because the plant is currently not operating at a profit.
  • The recent devaluation of First Energy’s utility tangible personal property will reduce the tax revenue the District receives by over $2.3 million; however, some or all of this may be recouped by an adjustment in the District’s state aid computation under ORC 3317.028. This does not hold true for other entities across the region that also lost tax revenue as a result of this finding by the State auditor’s office, nor will it apply to future devaluations likely to occur regardless of who owns the PNPP.
  • If the PNPP were to close, it would have a devastating economic impact on the entire region, not just Perry, resulting in a significant increase in taxes. Regardless of who owns the plant, it is in the entire region’s best interest the plant stays open and operational. 
  • Understanding the need to maintain market diversity, reliance, and resiliency, the U.S. Secretary of Energy has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to step in and take action to provide market considerations for nuclear power plants. This would likely be subsidies similar to, but less than, what is provided for other zero emission operations. We should know the outcome of this by the end of the year. 
  • State level legislation was introduced last year to provide zero emission credits to nuclear plants that would cost residents a maximum of $5.00 on their bill. Now, new legislation has been reintroduced that reduces the maximum cost to residents to $2.50 and businesses to $3,500. Similar legislation has already been passed in the states of New York and Illinois, both of which compete in the same baseload electric generation market as Ohio.

I hope the above provides some clarity to the current state of affairs relative to the PNPP. Local legislators including Commissioner Cirino, Representative Young, Senator Eklund, and Congressman Joyce continue to actively support any and all initiatives that would serve to prevent the premature closing of the PNPP.  A special thanks to Commissioner Cirino for allowing me the opportunity to attend a meeting he was able to arrange with the U.S. Department of Energy Nuclear Division where we gained additional momentum toward a solution that will benefit our community. Mr. Galante and I will continue working to ensure our community’s voice is heard, which includes testifying at the state level, providing written comment at the federal level, and holding meetings with any and all stakeholders. Please give me a call at (440) 259-9200 ext. 9299 if you would like to discuss the PNPP situation further. Regardless of the final outcome of this journey, the greatness that has always existed in this community comes from the people living here.  I have the utmost confidence that our community will do whatever it takes to preserve all that makes Perry so special.

 

Photo Caption: Lake County Commissioner Jerry Cirino, Commissioner Mark Stahl of Ottawa County, U. S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Edward G. McGinnis, and Superintendent Dr. Jack Thompson met in Washington D.C. with a host of other stakeholders to discuss the preservation of nuclear energy.