6.6.17: Statement on Millstone Closure Concerns: "Don't Believe the Hype"

For Immediate Release: June 6, 2017



Hartford, CT -- Matt Fossen, spokesman for the Stop the Millstone Payout coalition, released the following statement today in response to claims by executives at Dominion alluding to a possible closure of the Millstone Nuclear Plant, as well as S.B. 106 - a bill that would let the plant bid on state contracts historically reserved for new wind and solar projects.

“While it may be politically expedient for Millstone to scare lawmakers about the future of the plant, the claim that Millstone is at risk of closure is entirely unfounded. Millstone is the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States, and is predicted to be so for at least the next three years. ISO-New England has a process in place that Millstone can follow if it is truly struggling – but instead, its owner is restoring to scare tactics because it wants a special deal. At a time when so many Connecticut businesses and residents are legitimately struggling, it is an outrage that the nation’s most profitable nuclear plant is crying poverty. Our message to lawmakers is follow the money – do not be fooled.”

Under existing ISO-New England rules, Millstone is obligated to stay in operation through May 2022, and would have to undergo an ISO-NE review should it declare an intent to retire after that date. Given the region’s heavy reliance on natural gas for fuel, however, it’s virtually certain that ISO-NE would deem the plant necessary and offer a contract to keep Millstone active and profitable. An additional option available to Dominion would be selling Millstone to another nuclear operator; the nation’s most profitable nuclear plant should have no trouble finding a buyer, especially since two New York nuclear plants just recently changed hands.

Concerns over a potential Millstone closure have been repeatedly met with skepticism. Stakeholders have frequently pointed to an MIT study which showed that Millstone will be the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States through 2019, while others have cited an Energyzt report showing that the plant has made $3 billion in profits since 2001 and will earn $400 million in after-tax income over the next five years. Additionally relevant is a recent analysis performed by London Economics International for the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), of which Connecticut is a member, which found that “under every hypothetical scenario,” New England’s nuclear units, including Millstone, will remain profitable through 2030.

“Millstone will insist it’s not threatening an imminent closure, but instead warn about a potential risk down the road. But don’t believe the hype. Both of these concerns are palpably unwarranted given the plant’s financial projections and the protocols in place,” Fossen added.