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.



New York Times reports DOE to issue first nuclear reactor loan guarantee "in the next few days"

While American taxpayers were distracted by the holidays, Congress and the Bush administration approved $18.5 billion in new reactor federal loan guarantees, and another $2.0 billion in uranium enrichment facility loan guarantees, on Christmas Eve, 2007. Now that the American people are again distracted by the holidays, the Obama administration's Dept. of Energy (DOE) appears poised to begin delivering the goods, at U.S. taxpayer risk and expense. A Christmas Eve New York Times article, "Loan Program May Stir Nuclear Industry," reports that DOE may begin dispersing the first new reactor federal loan guarantees in "the next few days." This, despite widespread design flaws endemic to proposed new reactors on DOE's loan guarantee short list. This includes the design for the Westinghouse-Toshiba Advanced Passive (AP) 1000, proposed to be built at Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia, widely rumored to be at the top of DOE's list for receiving a loan guarantee. In recent months, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission publicly announced that the AP1000 design is vulnerable to severe weather such as tornadoes and hurricanes, and other natural disasters such as earthquakes, damaging the reactor core due to a faulty "shield building."


DOE: Nuke loan guarantees still have "some distance to go"

"We're getting close, but we're not done," with new atomic reactor federal loan guarantees, Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman has told ClimateWire's Peter Behr. This despite Energy Secretary Steven Chu's earlier threat to issue such guarantees -- risking up to $18.5 billion in taxpayer-backed loans for new reactors and an additional $2.0 billion for new uranium enrichment facilities -- by the end of this year.


Harvey Wasserman celebrates "A quiet but HUGE no nukes triumph"

Harvey Wasserman's latest essay lists recent setbacks plaguing the nuclear "renaissance," and urges continued grassroots vigilance against taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for new atomic reactors. See numerous additional Wasserman anti-nuke blogs down the righthand side of his homepage, and visit the website Harvey edits.


Beyond Nuclear joins coalition letter to Energy Dept. urging no "conditional loan guarantee" for risky French EPRs

Beyond Nuclear, as a member of the Chesapeake Safe Energy Coalition, has joined with groups in multiple states targeted for new Areva "Evolutionary Power Reactors" in a letter urging Energy Department officials to not grant rushed loan guarantees to this financially risky French reactor design with documented safety flaws.


Nuclear lobby pushes for “permanent financing platform,” at taxpayer risk and expense

While President Obama and other leading Democrats went “wooing” wavering Senators on both sides of the aisle with more nuclear power incentives for the administration’s Climate and Energy Bill, the Nuclear Energy Institute released its own "Nuclear Policy Incentive" to Capitol Hill. NEI broadly outlined a plan on how to build 45 new reactors in the US by 2030. It aims to support a climate bill that includes a “permanent financing platform” under the Clean Energy Deployment Administration to start with more than an additional $100 billion in direct federal loans, loan guarantees and other credit support for new reactor construction; to provide tax incentives to steeply ramp up large nuclear power component manufacturing and production facilities; to further streamline the federal licensing process and; to provide financial incentives for the development of “voluntary interim storage facilities for used nuclear fuel” (also known as “radioactive waste parking lot dumps”).

Thus, the nuclear industry is essentially looking to hook up an umbilical attachment to the US taxpayer for limitless federal money necessary to build financially risky new reactors. Given the teetering global economy and the colossal cost of new nukes, this would once again tip the playing field and competitive markets against renewable energy and drain the life blood out from the real answers to global climate change. NEI seeks to further strip public interest groups of their due process to challenge new reactor construction on public health and safety and environmental issues and bribe economically hard hit communities to take timelessly toxic nuclear waste.

Contact President Obama, your two U.S. Senators, and your U.S. Representative. Tell them that a permanent infusion of massive amounts of federal taxpayer dollars into dangerous and financially risky nuclear power in the climate bill jeopardizes real solutions to addressing climate change through renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.