Past time for openness and transparency

The Madison County Record Nov. 7, 2010, 2:31am

To the Editor:

Since 1998, Exelon's public statements regarding Zion's closure have been opaque and confusing. Rather than explain what part "economics" played in its shuttering of the Zion Plant in 1998, Exelon has chosen to shroud its business dealings in a veil of secrecy, further restricting the information that has reached the public via the media.

It was in August of this year when Exelon Corporation transferred Zion's two licenses to ZionSolutions, LLC, a special subsidiary of EnergySolutions, Inc., formed specifically to perform the safe decommissioning and environmental restoration of the Zion Station site.

With this in mind, I attended a community open house on Oct. 28 hosted by ZionSolutions at the Shepherd's Crook Golf Course Club House in Zion. The intent of the meeting was to convince attendees that ZionSolutions was making every effort to be open and transparent with the public.

ZionSolutions failed in its public relations. I was fortunate to receive an electronic copy of the Zion invitation, but it was folly for ZionSolutions to believe that a full-page announcement placed in the Zion-Benton Harbor News (a local, weekly publication) would be seen outside the immediate areas of Zion and Benton Harbor. Surely ZionSolutions must have known about the existence of major newspapers in Chicagoland!

Because all Illinoisans must be kept abreast of what is happening here in northern Illinois to the Dual Zion Nuclear Plant with its combined capacity of 2200 MWE, I feel duty-bound as a citizen of Lake Bluff in northern Illinois to warn citizens as to the foolishness of Exelon's decision to waste Zion, knowing that wind and solar will fail miserably in meeting this state's future energy needs.

The following questions need to be asked of Exelon officials, with the help of an engaged public and an interested media and perhaps a lawyer or two, before the Zion Nuclear Facility is unnecessarily wasted:

--Did Exelon intentionally and prematurely close the two Zion Nuclear-Fueled Electricity Generating Plants that customers have already paid billions to construct (plus a billion dollars for its decommissioning) in order to keep these least expensive, safe, green, non-polluting electricity generating plants out of the grid, thereby keeping electricity prices high?

--Why hasn't Exelon tried to sell these two Zion electricity generating plants? Could it be because a new owner would produce lowest cost, safe, green electricity for Illinois customers and this would lower the electricity bills for consumers, reducing Exelon's profits?

Exelon Corporation, owner/operator of the largest nuclear fleet in the nation, is being congratulated on investing in expensive wind and solar power, while seeming to care little about its electric rate payers, you and I!

Where are Illinois legislators? Few have responded to my repeated requests over this past summer to look into the Zion/Exelon saga.

It would be unfortunate if our politicians were in the back pockets of Exelon Corporation officials.

Nancy Thorner
Lake Bluff

More News