Corporate Take-over of World's Nukes
US - British Energy (BE), Britain's privatized nuclear energy conglomerate, has formed a US-based entity called Amergen. Under the banner of deregulation, Amergen has joined forces with Philadelphia Electric in an attempt to purchase 20 US nuclear
power plants - including Three Mile Island, Nine Mile Point, Oyster Creek, and Vermont Yankee. Philadelphia Electric already owns Peach Bottom and Limerick. Amergen could soon control 20 percent of US nuclear generating capacity.
BE controls 11 British reactors while its Canadian branch, Canegen, is set to purchase several aging Canadian reactors. By the end of 2000, this multinational could control ten percent of the world's nuclear capacity and 25 percent of the US' nuclear
The decrepit state of nuclear power has never been more apparent. Amergen is picking up TMI for a paltry $100 million and buying the 13-year-old Clinton nuclear plant for $20 million (marked down from $4.2 billion).
How can Amergen hope to make any money running these run-down reactors? "It's quite simple," The Nuclear Monitor explains. "Run them as cheaply as possible for as long as possible." Amergen will sell its power back to the same
companies that sold the reactors.
In Britain, the Monitor explains, Amergen's owners found out how to turn a profit on privatized nukes: "The best way to cut costs was to fire nuclear workers and contract out as much work as they could" thereby dispensing with workers' benefits. Overtime
for the remaining employees has averaged 60 percent. A secret internal memo leaked by Friends of the Earth reveals the company plans to fire another 300 workers.
If Amergen plays its cards right, it will reap a windfall by collecting "decommissioning" fees (funds set aside to close down these plants). The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is bending over backwards to make this happen. The Monitor reports how, "in
a virtually unprecedented move for a regulatory agency ... the NRC asked Congress to remove its authority to examine antitrust issues involving nuclear utilities." This move would bar any public review of these nuclear sales and the Senate Environment
Committee has agreed to honor the NRC's request.
What You Can Do: Contact Congress and the White House and insist that the NRC
retain its antitrust responsibilities and ask that there be no special tax breaks for Amergen. For more information, contact the Nuclear Information & Resource Service [1424 16th St., NW, No. 404, Washington, DC 20036, (202)