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Loan Guarantees

New reactor construction is so expensive and unpredictable that no U.S. utility is willing to take the risk without the backing of federal loan guarantees, potentially in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Beyond Nuclear and others fight to prevent the mature nuclear industry from seizing any such subsidies which are better spent on true climate solutions such as renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.

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Thursday
Aug032017

EXPERTS: V.C. SUMMER FAILURE SHOULD PUT AN END TO STATE AND FEDERAL BAILOUTS FOR NUCLEAR INDUSTRY

As quoted in an August 3, 2017 coalition press release, warning about the next shoe that could drop, in the aftermath of the cancellation of the Summer Units 2 & 3 atomic reactors in S.C. -- $8.3 billion of federal taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees, at Vogtle Units 3 & 4 in Georgia (Michael Mariotte of NIRS liked to point out that that is 15 times the amount of taxpayer money lost in the Solyndra solar loan guarantee default):

Even if there is no new federal bailout for nuclear, taxpayers could still end up on the hook for billions of dollars if the Vogtle project goes belly up.

Ryan Alexander, president, Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonprofit and nonpartisan taxpayer advocacy group, said: “The VC Summer project relied on the same problematic reactor designs and contractor, the recently bankrupt Westinghouse Corporation, as Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle. Westinghouse’s AP1000 design was being used in both VC Summer and Vogtle. Both projects have experienced multiple delays and significant cost overruns. Westinghouse’s recent bankruptcy pushed both projects further into turmoil. Unlike VC Summer, Vogtle managed to win themselves more than $8 billion in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees. So while federal taxpayers should and must watch any efforts to contribute to the bailout of the state of South Carolina and the players involved in the VC Summers project, billions in tax dollars are already at risk with the Vogtle project. It seems clearer than ever that the writing is on the wall for taxpayers. We’ve said it for 8 years: These massive nuclear reactor projects were doomed from the start, and taxpayer money should not be risked on them.”

Wednesday
Aug022017

Critics train their sights on Vogtle's future

As reported by E&E News. (Please note, all but the first sentence of this article is hidden behind a pay wall.)

$8.3 billion in federal taxpayer-back nuclear loan guarantees are at stake, if Vogtle 3 & 4's partners (including Southern Co.'s Georgia Power) default on their loan repayment. See posts in this LOAN GUARANTEE section, below, for more information on this.

$8.3 billion is 15 times more taxpayer money than was lost in the Solyndra solar loan guarantee default several years ago.

This particular article does not mention the federal loan guarantees at risk at Vogtle.

However, it does mention another potential federal taxpayer subsidy:

Even with that agreement in place, consumer advocates are worried that customers will wind up shouldering the burden of Vogtle's price tag. Westinghouse's parent, Toshiba Corp., has promised to underwrite $3.7 billion of the project, but it, too, is on shaky financial ground.

Congress could extend production tax credits, but the Senate has failed to act on a measure so far.

"There's just too much uncertainty, and I find that absolutely unacceptable," said Liz Coyle, executive director for Georgia Watch, a consumer group.

Whether it's CWIP (Construction Work in Progress, or advanced cost recovery, a.k.a. nuclear "tax" surcharges on ratepayers' electric bills), federal nuclear loan guarantees, or federal production tax credits, these all add up to massive public subsidies to filthy rich corporations like Southern Co. and GA Power.
And to these economic moral hazards of "we don't care how financially risky it is, because we're spending other people's money," must be added the radioactive moral hazards, if and when the two reactors at Vogtle 3 & 4 are completed and fired up -- reactor operating risks, as well as radioactive waste risks.

 

Tuesday
Aug012017

Death of Scana's V.C. Summer project puts industry on notice

As reported by E&E.

The $8.3 billion in federal taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees at Vogtle Units 3 & 4 are mentioned in this article, by Stan Wise, GA PSC Commissioner, in the context of differences between the now-cancelled Summer Units 2 & 3 in SC, and the not-yet-cancelled Vogtle 3 & 4 units in GA:

Plant Vogtle also has more owners to spread out costs and has a federal loan guarantee. What's more, Toshiba has agreed to pay billions to both plants in parent guarantees, and more money is going to Vogtle, he said.

The statement came amidst a section of the article discussing Vogtle 3 & 4's future. GA decision makers may rule yet this month whether or not to proceed with Vogtle Units 3 & 4.

Wednesday
Mar292017

SCAMA (South Carolinians Against Monetary Abuse) Obtains Records Indicating Liens Filed by Fluor, Company Constructing New Nuclear Reactors in South Carolina and Georgia, Against SCE&G and Georgia Power/Southern Nuclear

As reported in a press release posted on the website of Savannah River Site Watch.

Note that $8.3 billion of taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees are at risk of being lost, if the Vogtle 3 & 4 new reactor construction project defaults on its loan repayment. This is 15 times the amount of taxpayer money lost in the Solyndra solar loan guarantee default, as Michael Mariotte of NIRS pointed out many years ago.

Critics of the nuclear loan guarantee program warned about such risks in May 2001, when the Cheney Energy Task Force Report first floated the proposal of nuclear loan guarantees; again in 2005 when nuclear loan guarantees were made legal by passage of the Energy Policy Act; and again in 2007, when Congress and George W. Bush approved more than $20 billion worth of new reactor loan guarantees; and again leading up to the 2014 Obama administration approval of the $8.3 billion nuclear loan guarantee for Vogtle 3 and 4, without requiring any skin in the game by any of the companies involved -- an economic moral hazard with a radioactive twist!

Wednesday
Mar292017

ADVISORY: Experts discuss concerns with Westinghouse bankruptcy filing and the possible impacts on new nuclear construction projects in Georgia and South Carolina

As reported in a Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) press advisory.

Note that $8.3 billion of taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees are at risk of being lost, if the Vogtle 3 & 4 new reactor construction project defaults on its loan repayment. This is 15 times the amount of taxpayer money lost in the Solyndra solar loan guarantee default, as Michael Mariotte of NIRS pointed out many years ago.

Critics of the nuclear loan guarantee program warned about such risks in May 2001, when the Cheney Energy Task Force Report first floated the proposal of nuclear loan guarantees; again in 2005 when nuclear loan guarantees were made legal by passage of the Energy Policy Act; and again in 2007, when Congress and George W. Bush approved more than $20 billion worth of new reactor loan guarantees; and again leading up to the 2014 Obama administration approval of the $8.3 billion nuclear loan guarantee for Vogtle 3 and 4, without requiring any skin in the game by any of the companies involved -- an economic moral hazard with a radioactive twist!