The White House and nuclear power industry are on the brink of grabbing $7 billion in new taxpayer-funded loan guarantees for new reactors. But they can be stopped (www.nukefree.org
Taxpayer and environmental (www.nirs.org
) groups are asking citizens to call their Senators urging deletion of the guarantees.
The guarantees have been stuck into the Continuing Resolution just passed by the House to fund the government. It now goes to the Senate, where calls should be directed to delete this budget-busting radioactive boondoggle.
Nuke lobbyists have spent more than $640 million in the past decade to fund a "nuclear renaissance" from the federal trough. Earlier this year the Obama Administration and the industry's congressional minions were set to add as much as $36 billion to a Department of Energy loan guarantee program to build new reactors. Citizen opposition ( www.psr.org
) has been instrumental in slashing that number.
Because they are uneconomical and cannot compete with natural gas and renewables, private funding for new reactor projects has been virtually non-existent. The General Accounting Office and Congressional Budget Office have predicted at least a 50% financial failure rate for such loans.
Some $18.5 billion in funds for reactor construction loan guarantees were set aside by the Bush Administration. Obama gave out $8.33 billion of it earlier this year to the Southern Company's two-reactor project at Vogtle, Georgia, where ratepayers are being forced to fund the plant as it's being built. More than $10 billion of the original federal money remains undistributed.
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At an industry summit in Washington December 7-8, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu anointed atomic energy as a "clean" energy source that could be included in future official mandates and guidelines for energy production.
When running for president, Obama courted green activists by warning that "before an expansion of nuclear power is considered, key issues must be addressed including: security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage and proliferation."