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Nuclear Costs

Estimates for new reactor construction costs continue to sky-rocket. Conservative estimates range between $6 and $12 billion per reactor but Standard & Poor's predicts a continued rise. The nuclear power industry is lobbying for heavy federal subsidization including unlimited loan guarantees but the Congressional Budget Office predicts the risk of default will be well over 50 percent, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. Beyond Nuclear opposes taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies for the nuclear energy industry.

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Monday
Feb012010

Nuclear Renaissance "A First Class Train Wreck"

Former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford has recently called the nuclear "renaissance" at taxpayer expense "a first class train wreck." His recent op-ed to the Madison, Wisconsin Capital Times explains some of the reasons why.

Monday
Feb012010

Nonproliferation Policy Education Center warns that nuclear power subsidies risk worldwide proliferation of nuclear weapons 

Henry Sokolski, Executive Director of NPEC, has warned that U.S. Department of Energy taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for new atomic reactors in the U.S. will set a bad international example that could be followed by foreign governments seeking to conceal nuclear weapon programs behind a nuclear power facade. He points out that a large-scale atomic reactor can generate enough plutonium each year for "scores" of nuclear weapons, if it is chemically separated from radioactive waste. In addition, the enrichment of uranium for nuclear fuel fabrication can be readily diverted for the manufacture of bomb-grade high enriched uranium (HEU).

Monday
Feb012010

"Should Taxpayers Back New Nuclear?"

The National Journal's "Energy and Environment Expert Blogs" is hosting an online debate about taxpayer-backed nuclear power loan guarantees. Voices opposing such a federal subsidy for new reactors span the political spectrum, from environmental groups to conservative think tanks. Opponents and skeptics of new reactor loan guarantees include: former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford; Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense; Janet Larsen, Director of Research, Earth Policy Institute; Henry Sokolski, Executive Director, Nonproliferation Policy Education Center; Ellen Vancko, Nuclear Energy and Climate Change Project manager, Union of Concerned Scientists; David Kreutzer, Senior Policy Analyst in Energy Economics and Climate Change, Heritage Foundation; Bill Snape, Senior Counsel, Center For Biological Diversity; and William O'Keefe, CEO, George C. Marshall Institute.

Monday
Feb012010

"NRG Might Exit Nuclear Project"

The Wall Street Journal reports that NRG Energy, based in New Jersey, may pull the plug on its involvement in the South Texas Project nuclear power plant's proposal to build two additional reactors of the General Electric-Hitachi "Advanced Boiling Water Reactor" (ABWR) design at the site which already hosts two operating reactors (pictured at the left). What makes this news all the more remarkable is the fact that the U.S. Department of Energy had previously selected the South Texas Project proposal as one of the top four applications in the entire country for new reactor loan guarantees. As reported by Greg Harman in a three part series entitled "Nukes of Hazard," as well as additional coverage in the San Antonio Current and the San Antonio Express News, the South Texas Project new reactor proposal has been coming apart at the seams for several months now. DOE seems all too ready to risk many billions in taxpayer funding on new reactors resting on financial -- not to mention safety -- foundations built on sand.

Monday
Feb012010

Taxpayer groups urge President Obama not to expand nuclear loan guarantees

The National Taxpayers Union and Taxpayers for Common Sense have joined with the George C. Marshall Institute and the the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center to urge President Obama and his heads of the Departments of Energy and Treasury as well as the Office of Management and Budget to not expand the nuclear power loan guarantee program, given the large risk for taxpayers this would represent. Taxpayers for Common Sense has also published a backgrounder on how the "Top Nuclear Loan Guarantee Contenders [are] in Financial Shambles," revealing that the first $18.5 billion in nuclear loan guarantees already approved in 2007 could themselves risk taxpayers holding the bag for defaulted loan repayments, further driving home the point that the nuclear power loan guarantee program should not be expanded. The Union of Concerned Scientists has also spoken out against this massive proposed transfer of new reactor financial risks onto taxpayers, as has Environment America -- its new report Generating Failure: How Building Nuclear Power Plants Would Set America Back in the Race Against Global Warming documents that efficiency and renewables will solve the climate crisis affordably, while new atomic reactors would be an expensive dead end.