Beyond Nuclear resists DOE worsening risks for taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees

On Sept. 22, Beyond Nuclear joined a national coalition led by Texans for a Safe Energy Policy and their attorney, Diane Curran, in submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Energy regarding a proposed weakening of its taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantee program rules. The coalition also includes Friends of the Earth, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Public Citizen Texas, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Union of Concerned Scientists. DOE’s proposal would move taxpayers further to the back of the line, allowing other investors, such as foreign export banks, to receive priority compensation when half or more of new reactor projects default on their loan repayments, at a cost of many billions per failed project. The coalition’s comments represented a prompt and strong challenge to DOE’s rushed weakening of its rules, preserving our right to pursue legal challenges to such shenanigans in the future.


September 24, 2009. Support great reporting on nuclear power.

This week the San Antonio Current has published the first in a three-part series of truly investigative articles on nuclear power and is being assailed by pro-nuclear forces. Endorsement for "Nuclear Power: The Truth About A Taboo Subject", a unique public health event.


Never let the facts get in the way of a good story

New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, took the above semi-satirical mantra about "journalism" to heart this weekend when he penned a column that, among other falsehoods, stated that France has “managed to deal with all the radioactive waste issues without any problems or panics.”  No evidence of this - quite the contrary - see our Letter to the Editor (as yet unpublished).  But Friedman either didn't bother - or refused to look. (After all, it's pretty easy to miss 81 tons of plutonium sitting at La Hague with nowhere to go and 100 million gallons of liquid radioactive waste discharged annually into the English Channel. No waste problem there.)

He also described the now canceled Yucca Mountain radioactive waste repository as "totally safe." No scientific evidence of this. But then, who's looking? Not Friedman.

He mentions that French mayors "clamor to have reactors in their towns to create jobs". Utter nonsense. One French mayor of Dieppe - who was besieged by sit-in protesters - did advocate for only the second proposed new reactor in France. A couple of mayors thought having low-level waste dumps might be nice. Not much of a clamor.

Should the Times change its slogan to "all the nonense that's fit to print?"

You can read our letter or write to Tom Friedman yourself to complain. We'll be taking the column to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.


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:

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


Fears in Europe that U.S. could weaken Copenhagen agreement

Fears are being expressed in Europe that the U.S. could weaken a climate agreement that urgently needs to be made this December in Copenhagen, The Guardian newspaper reports. Despite a commitment to addressing climate change by the Obama administration, European sources told the Guardian that the Obama position on climate would be based on "anxiety about its ability to get a new global treaty ratified in the US Senate." This makes actions we take here to pass a strong climate bill all the more important and we urge you to contact your senator and insist that he or she not approve federal loan guarantees for nuclear energy in the climate bill, money that will detract from funding real and urgently needed sustainable energy climate solutions.