The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee late on the night of January 27 snuck in a provision to President Obama's economic stimulus package that would allow as much as $50 BILLION of your dollars to be used as loan guarantees for construction of new nuclear reactors. This would be on top of the $18.5 Billion in taxpayer dollars already authorized by Congress during the Bush administration.
These loan guarantees would mean more nuclear reactors and more radioactive waste piling up in communities across our country. They would also mean less money for safer, cheaper and cleaner energy alternatives like solar and wind power.
The provision is vaguely worded. It would authorize $50 Billion in new loan guarantees for "eligible technologies." These technologies include nuclear, "clean coal," renewable energy sources and electric transmission. But the stimulus package is intended to create new jobs and economic activity over the next two years. Moreover, the reality is neither nuclear power nor "clean coal" is ready to produce any jobs within the next two years. And that begs the point as to whether either should garner any taxpayer support at all....
The Department of Energy apparently would have to decide how to allocate this $50 Billion. If it all went to safe, cost-effective renewable energy sources, that would be one thing. Unfortunately, the provision's backers, like Sens. Robert Bennett (R-UT) and Thomas Carper (D-DE), are clear that their intent is that it would go for new nuclear reactor construction. Yet the Congressional Budget Office predicts a 50% default rate by nuclear utilities using this program! This is simply a nuclear bailout waiting to happen, and we can't afford it.
But it's not too late. You can help stop this nonsense. Environmental groups including NIRS, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Friends of the Earth and many others are now organizing to get this provision out of the stimulus package. The full Senate will vote on the stimulus package the week of February 2. We urge everyone to call your Senators now (Senate Switchboard: 202-224-3121) and tell them to stop all loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors. AND, we encourage you to send an an e-mail to your Senators by clicking here.
Thanks for all you do,
Nuclear Information and Resource Service