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Friday
Sep182009

Urge DOE to protect taxpayers against risky nuclear loan guarantees!

Thanks to everyone who contacted the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and their Members of Congress two weeks ago, urging an extension of DOE’s public comment period on its proposed weakening of taxpayer protections in its nuclear loan guarantee program. Under pressure from concerned citizens and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), DOE extended the comment deadline from Sept. 8th to Sept. 22nd.

Now we must take advantage of this extension to get our comments in! DOE’s most clearly outrageous proposal is to give up its “first lien” in the event of a new reactor loan repayment default. This would mean that taxpayers would be placed behind other lenders, such as foreign export-import banks, in terms of receiving compensation. Thus, taxpayers likely would not be compensated at all, but rather left holding the bag for billions when a new reactor or uranium enrichment facility goes belly up. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted, based on the nuclear industry’s history, that well over half of all new reactors could default on their loans. Taxpayers’ liability for dozens of new reactor loan guarantees could reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars. DOE’s rule change would increase, not decrease, taxpayer risk.

You can use Beyond Nuclear’s sample comments as is, or change them as you see fit.

Please take a few minutes between now and midnight Tuesday to submit short comments to DOE, calling on it to prioritize taxpayer protections by withdrawing its proposed weakening of the nuclear loan guarantee rules (email your comment to: lgprogram@hq.doe.gov).

To learn more about DOE’s proposed nuclear loan guarantees, see its “Full Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” as well as DOE’s Loan Guarantee Program website. Also, see Beyond Nuclear’s “Nuclear Costs” website. If you have further questions, contact Kevin Kamps at Beyond Nuclear, (301) 270-2209 ext. 1, or kevin@beyondnuclear.org.