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Main | Trump DOE ups nuclear loans to $12 billion despite multiple investigations »
Thursday
Dec212017

"It's a go" at Plant Vogtle, despite $12 billion in federal taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees at risk of default

As Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) has reported, the Georgia Public Service Commission has voted unanimously to proceed with the Vogtle 3 and 4 new reactor construction project in Waynesboro, GA, on the banks of the Savannah River, the state border with South Carolina.

In addition to the huge negative impact on Georgia ratepayers, who have been betrayed by the GA PSC ruling, there is the question of $12 billion in federal taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees.

The Obama administration's Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary, Ernest Moniz, approved a whopping $8.3 billion in federal nuclear loan guarantees for Voglte 3 & 4, several years ago. He demanded a $0.00 credit subsidy fee. Thus, the business partners involved, such as Southern Nuclear, have no skin in the game, whatsoever. The entire amount of taxpayer funding is at risk of loss, in the event of a loan default.

Several weeks ago, throwing good money after bad, the Trump administration DOE added another $3.7 billion, topping the loan guarantee off at a tidy $12 billion. This is more than 22 times the amount of taxpayer money lost in the Solyndra solar loan guarantee default, several years ago. The likes of U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (Republican-Michigan), who made so much hay about Solyndra, in an attempt to score political points against President Obama in an election year, have little to nothing to say about the risks of a Vogtle 3 & 4 nuclear loan guarantee default, even though so much more money is at stake. To the contrary, Upton (one of the nuclear power industry's best friends in Congress) was a lead advocate for massively expanding nuclear (as opposed to renewable) loan guarantees, when he served as U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman in 2007.

Such "public service," vis a vis the GA PSC ruling above, or Upton's advocacy for nuclear loan guarantees, "serves the public" all right -- up for dinner to the nuclear power industry!