A number of news reporters have noted the significance of U.S. Representative Fred Upton (Republican from Michigan's 6th congressional district, Chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, pictured left) stating at an October 8th congressional debate at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo that federal energy subsidies should be eliminated. It is most ironic, for Upton led efforts in the U.S. House to approve $20.5 billion in new nuclear power subsidies in late 2007, a measure then signed into law by George W. Bush on December 23rd, when almost all unsuspecting Americans were focused on holiday celebrations.
Specifically, those subsidies took the form of federal nuclear loan guarantees, making federal taxpayers the co-signers on loans for new nuclear projects. $18.5 billion was designated for new atomic reactors, while $2 billion was designated for new uranium enrichment facilities. Another $2 billion was later added for new uranium enrichment, from a "slush fund" of energy loan guarantees administered by the U.S. Department of Energy.
In Feb., 2010, President Obama himself announced the awarding of $8.3 billion in nuclear loan guarantees for two proposed new Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000 reactors targeted at Vogtle, Georgia. No other new nuclear loan guarantees have yet been awarded. But, in the aftermath of the Solyndra solar loan guarantee scandal, the Vogtle nuclear loan guarantee has yet to finalized. Apparently, Southern Nuclear is unwilling to pony up a mere tens of millions of dollars of its own (or other private investors') money required by Obama's Office of Management and Budget as "skin in the game." Thus, none of the $22.5 billion in new nuclear loan guarantees approved five years ago has actually been disseminated.
"...The candidates also disagree on what role the government should have in the energy industry. During Monday’s debate, Upton said he supports removing subsidies for all energy companies, including those that produce oil and gas.
'Let's talk about taking those subsidies away,' Upton said. 'Let the real cost of it be out there and let them compete on an even playing field.'..."
"...Rep. Fred Upton, R. Kalamazoo, said he 'supports removing subsidies from all energy companies.' If so, he should start with the nuclear power in his district. The federal government subsidizes the nuclear industry more than any other. The Union of Concerned Scientists calculates that it would be cheaper for the federal government to purchase electricity and give it away than to subsidize nuclear power!"
Beyond Nuclear has published a number of exposés on Congressman Upton over the years, including a two page summary, a full 22 page long report, as well as details of the nuclear power industry related Political Action Committee and individual campaign contributions he has recieved in return for his extreme pro-nuclear advocacy on Capitol Hill.