Morningstar Magazine - October/November 2017 - 61

Other top performers in Sustainalytics' waste
management rankings include Entergy ETR,
PG&E PCG, and Exelon EXC. Exelon and Entergy are
the two largest nuclear owners in the United
States. PG&E recently announced plans to exit the
nuclear business by closing its Diablo Canyon
plant in California starting in 2024.
At the other end of the spectrum, Sustainalytics'
analysis reveals a dearth of relevant environmental programs at Great Plains Energy GXP,
Westar Energy WR, and FirstEnergy FE. These firms
also have below-average nuclear capacity
compared with the U.S. utilities industry. But their
exposure, constituting 17%, 16%, and 24% of their
generation mix, respectively, is far from trivial.
Great Plains and Westar jointly own the Wolf
Creek nuclear plant in Kansas and plan to merge in
the first half of 2018.

Social
Is Radiation Exposure From Nuclear Power Safe?

Nuclear power checks many of the boxes for
positive social stewardship. Nuclear power
plants employ several hundred professionals in
high-paying jobs, often in small- and midsize
towns. Exelon recently estimated that its smallest
plant, located in Clinton, Ill. (population 7,000),

generated $713 million for the state economy and
paid $22 million in state and local taxes in 2014.
Most of Exelon's other plants produced more than
double those numbers.
Nuclear safety, however, is a key social concern.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo cited safety
in his opposition to the Indian Point nuclear plant
not far from New York City. Nuclear disasters
have been dramatized repeatedly, notably in the
1979 movie "The China Syndrome" and the
television series "The Simpsons."

include bodily functions, airborne radon, soil, rock,
and certain foods. Human-made sources include
diagnostic medical equipment (x-ray, CT scans),
nuclear medicine procedures, building and
road construction materials, fuels, and electronics.
Radiation levels from normally operating
nuclear plants are a small fraction of
normal human radiation exposure and pose
no safety risks. Studies show:
3 Eating a banana causes more radiation
exposure than one year living within 50 miles of
a nuclear plant.

However, we think nuclear power safety is
misunderstood. A variety of different measures
3 Living adjacent to a nuclear plant would result in
suggest that nuclear generation is the safest
less radiation than living in a stone house.
source of baseload power generation in the U.S.
We estimate U.S. nuclear plants have been
generating power for a cumulative 28 million hours, 3 Living near a coal plant exposes a person to
three times as much radiation as living near a
or almost 3,200 years, since the first unit
went into service in 1957. In that time, there has
nuclear plant.
been only one accident in the U.S. with
relatively minor radiation leakage and no fatalities. 3 The U.S. NRC requires nuclear plants to limit the
There have been other minor radiation leak
annual external radiation exposure to the
public to 100 millirems, less than 20% of Americans'
incidents but none serious.
baseline radiation exposure.
Americans on average are exposed to about 620
Nuclear plant workers are exposed to about 400
millirems of radiation per year split evenly
between naturally occurring and human-made
millirems of additional radiation each year.
sources. Naturally occurring radiation sources
Nuclear plant employees cannot be exposed to

EXHIBIT 4

Managing Waste Some U.S. utilities are better prepared than others to manage hazardous waste.
Sustainalytics Waste Management Score

Total Weighted Score (out of 100)
100

83
76

76

75

75
66

61

60

58

53

51

50

45

45

50
42

41

35

32

30

25

23
15
Xcel
Energy

Entergy

Source: Sustainalytics.

PG&E

Exelon

SCANA Dominion American Ameren
Energy Electric
Power Co.

NRG
Energy

Duke
Energy

Pinnacle
The
NextEra
West Southern Energy
Capital Company

WEC
Energy
Group

DTE
Energy

Alliant
Energy

Public FirstEnergy Westar
Service
Energy
Enterprise
Group

0

Great
Plains
Energy

global.morningstar.com/Morningstarmagazine

61


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