Obama Goes Nuclear

"Is there any chance that President Barack Obama can return to his long-held stand critical of nuclear power? Is he open to hearing from scientists and energy experts, such as Amory Lovins, who can refute the pro-nuclear arguments that have apparently influenced him?"

Read the rest of this article by Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, in Counterpunch, February 17, 2010, recounting a number of negative statements on atomic power Obama has made and revealing what may have made him change his stance.


CSPAN Washington Journal debates Obama's nuclear loan guarantees

CSPAN Washington Journal , February 17, 2010, featured Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear in a debate with Alex Flint of the Nuclear Energy Institute on President Barack Obama’s February 16 announcement to give $8 billion dollars in federal loan guarantees to restart long stalled new reactor construction.


Beyond Nuclear denounces President Obama's decision to transfer risks for new atomic reactors onto U.S. taxpayers

President Obama himself, flanked by nuclear power industry unions such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (photo at left), today announced the awarding of an $8.3 billion, taxpayer-backed loan guarantee to Southern Nuclear Company of Georgia for its proposed twin-reactor expansion at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. Ironically, Plant Vogtle's currently operating twin reactor nuclear power plant was the poster child of cost overruns in the last generation of reactor building -- coming in at a whopping 13-fold, or over 1,000%, cost overrun. Such skyrocketing costs delivered the death blow to nuclear power plant construction in the United States, even before Three Mile Island melted down in 1979. In a follow up press conference today, Energy Secretary Steven Chu revealed his ignorance of the Congressional Budget Office's prediction that over half of new atomic reactors will default on their loan repayments. This will, of course, leave taxpayers holding the bag for many billions of dollars per failed project. Financial analysts are unconvinced that such federal largesse is sufficient to achieve the nuclear power industry's coveted "renaissance." They have even pointed out that, despite President Obama completing President Bush's unfinished favor -- at taxpayer expense -- for the nuclear power industry, it is too little, too late to achieve a nuclear power relapse in this country. Beyond Nuclear immediately issued a media release denouncing President Obama's decision. Beyond Nuclear board member Karl Grossman wrote "Obama's Change on Nuclear Power" in response to today's nuclear loan guarantee announcement. Bob Alvarez of Institute for Policy Studies responded to President Obama's pro-nuclear power, and even pro-nuclear weapons, policies with "Nukes Aren't the Answer." In fact, the environmental and taxpayer coalition opposed to nuclear power loan guarantees erupted with a "negative reaction," a flurry of fury, including from Public Citizen; PSR; Friends of the Earth; Environment America; Sierra Club; and Taxpayers for Common Sense. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader  calls President Barack Obama’s loan guarantee for nuclear power plants a "monumental mistake." Watch  Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps on Al Jazeera English interview (play the "In video" report by John Terrett in the lower right hand corner). Watch Kevin debate the Nuclear Energy Institute's top lobbyist, Alex Flint, on C-SPAN's Washington Journal from 7:45-8:30 a.m. on Wed., Feb. 17th. As the top staffer for former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee at the time), Alex Flint played a lead role in the writing and passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which established the nuclear loan guarantee program in the first place, as well as awarded another $13 billion in federal subsidies to the nuclear power industry. In fact, as reported by Mike Stuckey of MSNBC, Alex Flint has passed through the revolving door between the nuclear power industry and Capitol Hill more than once, making himself a pretty penny in the process.


Nuclear power industry has spent nearly $650 million in lobbying and $63 million in campaign contributions in past decade alone

The Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University's School of Communication, in collaboration with McClatchy Newspapers, published "Nuclear energy lobby working hard to win support" by Judy Pasternak last month. The article reports that nuclear utilities, labor unions, and other companies with financial interests in nuclear power's expansion have "invested" large sums of money on Capitol Hill in an attempt to win legislative victories to subsidize new reactors, open a national radioactive waste dump at Yucca Mountain, and achieve other industry priorities. In addition, the Obama administration's close ties to Exelon Nuclear, the largest nuclear utility in the U.S., are documented.


Leaks and lies: a public forum on closing Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee

Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Director Paul Gunter will join David Dean, Vermont State Representative and Riverkeeper for the Connecticut River Watershed Council; Clifford Hatch, organic farmer in Gill, Massachusetts; Dr. Ira Helfand, co-founder and past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility; Deborah Katz, executive director of Citizens Awareness Network; Clay Turnbull, staff member of the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution; and Chris Williams, organizer, Vermont Citizen Action Network as keynote speakers at an event on Feb. 21st in Brattleboro, VT dedicated to blocking Vermont Yankee's 20 year license extension, sponsored by the Safe and Green Campaign and Citizens Awareness Network.