Exelon Corporation rejects request from Tribune for a follow-up story about Zion Nuclear Plant

October 20, 2010

Peter Cameron, a free-lance reporter for the Chicago Tribune, was assigned by the Tribune to write an article on the Zion Dual Nuclear Plant following the transfer of its licenses to Energy Solution out of Utah in September of this year. The decommissioning will cost $1 billion.  In that the Tribune assigned a reporter to write a follow-up story seems to indicate that not every one at the Tribune has been satisfied with past answers received from Exelon as to the “Why?” for the plant’s closing, which will forever waste its massive source of energy –  2,100 megawatts of it.

You will notice in my response to Cameron’s piece that neither Mayor Lane Harrison of Zion or Exelon Corporation officials had the courtesy to reply to Tribune inquiries. This in itself is quite telling.
With the above in mind, I took the time, and felt compelled, to write a letter to “Voice of the People” at the Chicago Tribune.  I also sent a Cc to all editors at the Tribune
Number two of my four proposed questions directed to Exelon, all of which demand answers, should be the main focus of any follow-up investigation done by the Tribune
This followup was recommended in my “Voice of the People” letter forwarded to Tribune editors.
I plan to  email this information to both state and federal legislators here in Illinois and to others who have shown an interest in the unfortunate and unnecessary demise of the Dual Zion Nuclear Plant
Article by Peter Cameron, published Friday, October 15, 2010, in the Chicago Tribune:
Zion awaits takedown of long-shut nuclear plant:  200 jobs a year promised, but some residents want Exelon to restart troubled facility  by Peter Cameron, Special to the Tribune.

“When the Zion Nuclear Power Station was built in the early 1970s, LeRoy Thompson poured the concrete. . . .” 

The complete article can be viewed at:

Nancy Thorner’s “Voice of the People” letter to the Chicago Tribune in response to Peter Cameron’s article about Zion:
Lop-sided account about Zion no fault of the Tribune
As a Lake Bluff citizen and tax payer who has spent much time and effort into saving the Dual Zion Nuclear Plant over the past two years which sits on the Lake Michigan shoreline only miles north of my Lake Bluff home, I was quite disappointed in the article written by your freelance reporter, Peter Cameron, on Friday, October 15, Zion awaits takedown of long-shut nuclear plant. 
According to Peter Cameron’s article, many in Zion are still asking why the Plant’s power was shut off in 1998 and how spending the $1 billion to tear down the nuclear power station is more cost-efficient than flipping the switch back on?

Missing in Cameron’s report, which made it appear lop-sided, was the refusal of Mayor Lane Harrison of Zion to comment, and, most glaring of all, the failure of Exelon officials to respond to Tribune messages. 

Peter Cameron had no choice but to use the same response given by Exelon in the past to the Chicago Tribune when writing his Zion article, the “economic infeasibility” of restarting the plant.

Exelon must answer the following question:

1.  Explain fully and completely why the Dual Zion Facility is being wasted with its potential to generate some of the cheapest and cleanest power in the country — 2,100 megawatts.  Illinoisans have already paid billions in constructing the Plant.

2.  Explain fully why the closing of Zion isn’t being done to keep a cheap supply of power from the market place in order to keep prices high for Illinois consumers (and Exelon’s other plants) and Exelon’s own profits higher?

3.  Explain fully how much it would cost to restart Zion (upgrade the insides) in comparison to the one billion-dollar project (also paid by Illinoisans) to demolish Zion?  The structures are already in place. 

4.  Explain fully the future of the Zion site after the 10-year decommissioning project?   The land will not be usable for condos or any thing else.  The 200-acre site will be guarded and off-limits to the people of Zion, because of the 20-foot cylindrical silos to be built to hold the spent nuclear fuel and the highly radioactive material taken from the two nuclear reactors.   

Illinois is spending a fortune on expensive wind and solar power that costs three times as much and blights our landscape, with little power to show for it, based on the unsubstantiated claim that man is causing global warming and that CO2 is the culprit.   This makes the closing of Zion even more suspect, because nuclear power is green energy and gives the biggest bang for the buck!

The Tribune has an obligation to Illinois tax payers to dig further into the Zion/Exelon saga.  Whether assigned to Peter Cameron or another reporter, a follow-up story must attempt to hold Exelon’s feet to the fire. 

Accountability and transparency must be forthcoming from Exelon Corporation


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