News Release

Billions to Subsidize Nuclear Energy


The New York Times reports today: “In a speech in Lanham, Md., Mr. Obama announced government approval of an $8.3 billion loan guarantee to help the Southern Company build two reactors in Burke County, Georgia, near Augusta.”

A former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy and now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, Alvarez just wrote the piece “Nukes Aren’t the Answer,” which states: “Wall Street has refused to finance nuclear power for more than 30 years, rendering new construction impossible. The Obama administration, in a move to placate Senate Republicans, proposes to fund new power reactors with some $54.5 billion in federal loan guarantees. Because of the way the guarantees are structured, the actual loans will be made by the Federal Financing Bank out of the U.S. Treasury. Last year, the Government Accountability Office estimated that these loans have more than a 50-50 chance of failing. … [D]espite Obama’s rhetoric about reshaping America’s energy future, he’s asking for a budget that would have the Energy Department continue to spend 10 times more on nuclear weapons than energy conservation.”

Kamps, a specialist in nuclear waste at Beyond Nuclear, said today: “President Obama’s nuclear loan guarantee now forces American taxpayers to bear 80 percent of the financial risks for two proposed new Toshiba-Westinghouse so-called ‘Advanced Passive (AP) 1000’ atomic reactors. The Japanese export bank will bear the financial risks for much of the rest. This leaves Southern Nuclear Company of Georgia free to engage in a ‘moral hazard’ with a radiological risk twist, given the major safety design flaw with the reactor’s shield building identified by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission just last October. Thus, taxpayers are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If the reactors go belly-up, taxpayers will be on the hook for many billions in loan repayment. If the flawed design actually gets built and operates, communities downwind and downstream will be at radiological risk from tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, or crashing airliners releasing catastrophic amounts of deadly radioactivity from the vulnerable reactors.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541)