Former FERC, NARUC members join pro-nuclear group

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A campaign promoting nuclear energy as a weapon against climate change announced the enlistment today of former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Vicky Bailey and former National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President David Wright.

Financed partially by Exelon Corp., Nuclear Matters has also lined up former White House climate adviser Carol Browner, former Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and former Commerce Secretary and Obama chief of staff Bill Daley.Nuclear Matters said Bailey and Wright bring regulatory expertise that could help “explore potential policy solutions at the state level that can help address the current threats to America’s existing nuclear fleet.”

Bailey, who served at FERC from 1993 to 2000, said in a statement that nuclear power is critical to grid reliability, “a fact underscored by its performance during the recent Polar Vortex, where nuclear energy operated at a 95 percent capacity factor — the highest of any energy source.”

Pete Lyons, the Energy Department’s assistant secretary for nuclear energy, said earlier this year that a rash of premature U.S. reactor closures could threaten the country’s climate goals.

DOE, he said, was reviewing one scenario under which a third of the country’s approximately 100 reactors would be shuttered. Lyons said such a situation could undermine the Obama administration’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recently released fifth assessment report found limiting greenhouse gas emissions to around 450 parts per million would require tripling or even quadrupling zero- and low-carbon energy sources including nuclear power, fossil fuels with carbon capture and sequestration, and bioenergy with CCS by 2050.