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Taxpayer cost to bail out Pennsylvania nuclear industry? Potentially $500 million a year

The long-rumored nuclear bailout in Pennsylvania finally has a hard number attached to it: $500 million a year.

That’s the amount of money that consumers would be sending to the three companies that operate five nuclear power plants in the state if House Bill 11 is passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.

HB11 was unveiled Monday in a news conference by Rep. Tom Mehaffie, R-Hershey, whose district is adjacent to the Three Mile Island nuclear facility and is home to many of TMI’s workers.

Mehaffie, a two-term member of the House of Representatives, pitched his plan as the best way to rein in future electricity costs for consumers. He argued that without his legislation, the power plants would close and Pennsylvanians would pay even more than the bailout.

“The cost of doing nothing is $4.6 billion [a year],” Mehaffie said. “$788 million annually in higher electric electricity costs to the consumers, whereas the cost of this bill is about $500 million. That is an eight-to-one benefit-to-cost ratio. I see this situation as a win-win.”

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