Wall Street

Unlike in the 1970s - when the nuclear industry became "the largest managerial disaster in business history" (according to Forbes magazine) - Wall Street is no longer prepared to underwrite new reactor construction and is looking to the U.S. taxpayer to take the risk and foot the bill.



Rating agencies: cracked Crystal River 3 may be down for the count

The magnitude of concrete containment cracks at Crystal RiverAs reported by SNL, Fitch and UBS have indepenently cast doubt on the likelihood, given the cost (into the billions of dollars), that Duke/Progress Energy's Crystal River Unit 3 in Citrus County, Florida will ever be repaired and returned to operations. Crystal River has been shutdown ever since severe cracking (see photo, left) was discovered in its concrete containment shell, nearly three and a half years ago. The utility accidentally cracked the containment itself, while attempting an in-house steam generator replacement.

The article reports that ratepayers will not be charged $388 million for replacement power, but "a settlement agreement with the Florida Office of Public Counsel and several interest groups...stipulates the parties will not oppose Duke's full recovery of all plant investment should it decide to retire the plant," meaning that the public could still get stuck with the bill for a disastrous engineering mistake the nuclear utility itself made.

Duke/Progress Energy has variously attempted to foist repair or cost recovery bills on its insurance provider, its ratepayers via the Florida Public Service Commission, and even the rest of the nuclear power industry.

Beyond Nuclear has helped lead environmental coalition efforts to block Davis-Besse's 20-year license extension, due to severe cracking in its concrete Shield Building.


"Stop the Nuclear Industry Welfare Program"

"Burning money" image by Gene Case, Avenging AngelsJust a couple days after rocking an anti-nuke rally in Brattleboro, Vermont, calling for the immediate shutdown of Entergy Nuclear's Vermont Yankee atomic reactor, Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has joined forces with Taxpayers for Common Sense Executive Director Ryan Alexander to pen an article on the Huffington Post entitled "Stop the Nuclear Industry Welfare Program." Sanders and Alexander list the many, large-scale taxpayer subsidies the nuclear power industry has enjoyed for over half a century. They point out the irony of filthy rich nuclear utility companies, like Exelon and Entergy, receiving such public support in the first place: they take in annual revenues of $33 billion and $11 billion, respectively.

On March 11, 2011, the Union of Concerned Scientists unveiled two major studies, one by David Lochbaum about the near misses at U.S. reactors in 2010, the second by Doug Koplow, a comprehensive analysis of half a century of taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies to the nuclear industry. The long scheduled press conference was eclipsed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe which began just hours earlier. In this year's annual review report, "Living on Borrowed Time," Lochbaum documented that 5 of 15 near misses at U.S. reactors in 2011 took place at Entergy owned (Palisades, MI X 2; Pilgrim, MA X 2) or operated (Cooper, NE) plants. Sanders and Alexander point out that, for any catastrophic radioactivity release at a U.S. reactor causing more than $12 billion, U.S. taxpayers would be looked to for picking up the tab, under the Price-Anderson Act.


Wall Street Journal poll finds 57% of Americans want nuclear power subsidies cut

U.S. taxpayers--call your U.S. Senators and urge them to eliminate the crushing burden of new atomic reactor subsidies, such as nuclear loan guarantees!A poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC has found that 57% of Americans polled supported the elimination of subsidies for the construction of new atomic reactors as a budget trimming measure in these hard financial times for the U.S. Treasury. The Wall Street Journal reported that "When it comes to reducing spending, the most popular targets were subsidies to build nuclear power plants..."


Beyond Nuclear White Paper on "Nuclear Power's Toxic Assets" and why Wall Street won't touch them

The financial meltdown has amplified the already profound risks of investment in new nuclear reactors. The nuclear industry - recognizing this - is chasing potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in federal loan guarantees and taxpayer subsidies. Read the White Paper and the Fact Sheet synopsis.

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