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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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Tuesday
Sep012009

Urge DOE to Extend Comment Period on Nuclear Loan Guarantees!

Action Alert, Sept. 2, 2009

Urge Energy Dept. to Extend Public Comment Period on Nuclear Loan Guarantee Rules!

On August 7th, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) posted an announcement in the Federal Register about proposed changes to its nuclear loan guarantee program. This weakening of the rules could well put taxpayers at increased risk of being left holding the bag for tens of billions of dollars in loan repayments, when new nuclear projects default.

Despite such astronomical financial risks, and the complex technical nature of the regulatory changes, DOE has allowed just 30 short days for public comments to be submitted. The month long comment period just so happened to coincide with the August congressional recess, meaning that many watchdog groups, as well as House and Senate Members and staff, would be on travel, and not find out about it till Congress resumes in earnest the day after Labor Day.  But that’s the very day that comments are currently due – Tuesday, Sept. 8th.

On August 20th, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Public Citizen, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote DOE, requesting a 60 day extension to the comment period.

Please email DOE right away at lgprogram@hq.doe.gov. Express support for the Aug. 20 environmental coalition letter, and urge DOE to grant the 60 day extension to the comment period.

Alert your U.S. Senators and Representative to DOE’s sneak maneuver, by calling them via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard, (202) 224-3121. Urge your Members of Congress to themselves contact DOE and demand a 60 day extension to the comment period, so that their staff can submit carefully considered comments to protect American taxpayers against the astronomical financial risks of new atomic reactors and uranium enrichment facilities.

And watch for an additional alert in the next few days, inviting groups to join a coalition comment submission currently in the works, to be turned in by Sept. 8th in case DOE rejects our extension request. Individuals can send comments directly to the DOE email address given above.

To learn more about DOE’s proposed nuclear loan guarantees, and to see the “Full Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” go to http://www.lgprogram.energy.gov/. Also, continue to read on here at Beyond Nuclear’s “Nuclear Costs” and "Loan Guarantees" website subsections. If you have further questions, contact Kevin Kamps at Beyond Nuclear, (301) 270-2209 ext. 1, or kevin@beyondnuclear.org.

 

                            

Saturday
Jul112009

"Nuclear Loan Guarantees: Another Taxpayer Bailout Ahead?"

Read the full Union of Concerned Scientists' analysis.

Saturday
Jul112009

USEC admits new uranium enrichment plant needs loan guarantees

The uranium enrichment company says it hasn't secured financing for its planned enrichment plant in Ohio but expects to get federal loan guarantees from either the Bush or Obama administrations. 

Saturday
Jul112009

Department of Energy gets a run on nuclear handouts but won't release the list

The U.S. Department of Energy has revealed it received applications for federal taxpayer-backed loan guarantees from 17 utilities in time for its September 29 deadline but the agency will not say who they are. Furthermore, the applications - for the construction of 21 new reactors at 14 U.S. sites - total up to at least $122 billion. "Only" $18.5 billion in federal loan guarantees was set aside late last year. DOE admits that 21 new reactors would actually cost $188 billion. An additional $4 billion was sought by companies presumably hoping to build new uranium enrichment plants. Half that amount was set aside in the total $20.5 billion federal loan guarantee package. The DOE's Loan Guarantee Program Office Director, David Frantz, told reporters that $18.5 billion would likely only accommodate two new reactors. The DOE's secretiveness over the identities of the applicants is puzzling given that many have publicly declared their applications and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Web site lists all new applications.

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