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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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Tuesday
Jun292010

9 US Congress Members oppose $9 billion nuclear loan guarantee expansion in emergency war funding bill

Nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives -- Donna Edwards (D-MD), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), John Hall (D-NY), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), and Peter Welch (D-VT) -- sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI) on June 22nd, expressing opposition to the inclusion of $9 billion in expanded federal loan guarantees for new nuclear power reactors. The provision is attached as a rider to an emergency war funding bill, which the Members regard as improper. Please consider calling one or more of the signatories via the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to thank them for their good action to protect taxpayer pocketbooks from nuclear power's financial risks. The House Appropriations Committee may act on this issue by the beginning of its Independence Day recess which begins July 3rd, so phone your own U.S. Representative via the Switchboard number above as well, to urge them to express similar opposition to expanded nuclear power loan guarantees to Chairman Obey and other Members of the House Appropriations Committee.

Thursday
Jun172010

"Declare your independence" from risky nuclear loan guarantees before the 4th of July!

There is still time to act against expanded nuclear power loan guarantees before the U.S. House finalizes its supplemental war funding and disaster relief bill by its Independence Day recess.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Dave Obey (Democrat-Wisconsin), is considering an emergency supplemental war funding and disaster relief bill. The Obama administration has pushed for $9 billion in additional nuclear power loan guarantees to be attached as a rider onto this bill, thus attempting to rush part of a $36 billion expansion request to the nuclear power loan guarantee program, originally requested for next year's Fiscal Year 2011 budget, onto this fiscal year's budget.

Given that the $8.33 billion in atomic power loan guarantees granted by the U.S. Dept. of Energy for two new reactors at Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia, announced by President Obama himself last February (and just accepted by Southern Company), would come from the U.S. Federal Financing Bank, this program appears poised to extract not only loan guarantees from taxpayers, but even the loans themselves. Wall Street investment firms are still too burned by atomic defaults from the 1970s and 1980s -- the largest managerial disaster in business history according to Forbes magazine -- to risk their own funds on new reactors, despite the federal loan guarantees!

Ironically, the House will try to pass this supplemental appropriations bill before it leaves for the 4th of July Independence Day recess. There is even the possibility that the U.S. House Appropriations Committee will be bypassed, and the bill will go directly to the House floor for passage. Such short cuts make a mockery of due process -- consideration by the committee of jurisdiction. As the U.S. Declaration of Independence says, when government becomes inimical to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it is the right and duty of citizens to alter or abolish government. Thus, it's high time for taxpayers to declare their independence from the nuclear relapse, and just say no to risky atomic loan guarantees!

As Taxpayers for Common Sense argues, such an emergency supplemental war funding and disaster relief bill is no place for energy loan guarantees to be attached in the first place. But then again, the entire $54.5 billion in nuclear power loan guarantees that the Obama administration has requested is a risk to taxpayers that should be blocked, no matter what piece of legislation it is attached to.

Act now! Call your U.S. Representative via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121: urge them to weigh in with their House colleagues on the Appropriations Committee, especially Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI), to block expanded nuclear power loan guarantees; urge that they vote against any bill that includes atomic loan guarantees.

Tuesday
Jun152010

Obama's post-Gulf oil catastrophe call for "clean energy" tacit push for taxpayer-backed atomic expansion

Although President Barack Obama did not say the words "nuclear power" in his first ever Oval Office address to the nation on June 15th, his call for an accelerated "transition to clean energy" in response to the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history -- the worsening oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico -- represents a tacit push for the expansion of atomic energy. This would only take place by transferring the financial risks and even direct costs (not to mention the radiological risks) squarely on the backs of taxpayers. Obama said "Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill –- a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses." He failed to mention that the 2009 Waxman-Markey climate-energy bill would carve out up to 30% of federal "Clean Energy Deployment Administration" funding and support -- loan guarantees, outright loans, and other subsidies -- for new atomic reactors and other nuclear facilities such as uranium enrichment plants. Obama also failed to mention that the Kerry-Lieberman "climate" bill in the Senate -- more of a dirty energy subsidy bill, including, ironically, support for expanded offshore oil drilling -- contains a long list of taxpayer giveaways to the nuclear power industry, as revealed in analyses by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility. The Kerry-Lieberman bill would include the $36 billion expansion of the nuclear loan guarantee program funding requested from Congress by Energy Secretary Chu for the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, $9 billion of which the Obama administration is trying to rush onto the Fiscal Year 2010 budget by attaching a rider onto the emergency supplemental war funding and disaster relief bill currently before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. Also not mentioned in Obama's speech was the Bingaman energy bill, passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last summer: its version of the federal "Clean Energy Deployment Administration" is significantly worse than the House version, allowing for unlimited loan guarantees for nuclear power, without congressional oversight -- granting the Department of Energy veritable blank check writing authority for the nuclear relapse. Contact the White House comment line at (202) 456-1111, or fill out its web form at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact; urge President Obama to stop seeking to expand atomic energy at taxpayer risk and expense.

Friday
Jun112010

PSR releases analysis of Kerry-Lieberman "climate" bill's nuclear power section

Michele Boyd at Physicians for Social Responsibility has published a two page summary and an eight page analysis of the Kerry-Lieberman "American Power Act" being proposed in the U.S. Senate. After reading these analyses, phone (via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121) your two U.S. Senators to urge they block such nuclear power subsidies and regulatory rollbacks -- the nuclear power industry's "wish list" in this legislation is a mile long!

Wednesday
Jun092010

"Nuclear Reactionaries"

"It’s a big-government-dependent tool to fight climate change that was championed by Jimmy Carter, is now dominated by the French, and has never managed to compete in the marketplace. So why, exactly, do Republicans love nuclear power so much?" (by T.A. Frank in the May/June 2010 Washington Monthly)