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Nukes and the Stimulus

by HARVEY WASSERMAN

The infamous $50 billion nuke power loan guarantee package meant to use your money to build new nuke reactors has gone missing from saturation media coverage of Obama’s Stimulus Package. But it’s still in the Senate version of the bill, it could be voted on this week, and it could kill us all.

Like that $30,000 antique toilet that disappeared into the banking bailout, the corporate media carries not a word about this gargantuan handout to the dying reactor industry. All the hype about a “nuclear renaissance” will come to naught without this massive taxpayer handout. But if it goes through, the landscape could be pock marked with lethal new nukes.

We have days—maybe hours—to stop it. While aid programs to the states, for education and the truly needy are slashed, this gargantuan boondoggle is poised to sail through with virtually no public knowledge.

The loan guarantee package was slipped into the Senate version of the Stimulus Bill by Senator Robert Bennet (R-UT) who proceeded to vote against the overall package. It is not currently in the House version.

As the two bills are reconciled, armies of radioactive lobbyists will be marching through the Halls of Congress. They know Wall Street will never pay for new nukes, so that leaves…you and me!

The estimated price of building new reactors has nearly tripled since the beginning of 2007. It is virtually certain to at least double again before any new nuke could come on line, which could not happen in less than a decade.

Reactors built from the 1960s to now came on line an average of 200% and more over budget. A French-based reactor construction project in Finland has soared more than $2 billion over budget and is more than two years behind schedule. The Government Accountability Project warns that at least half those who build new reactors are likely to plunge into bankruptcy. To this day the industry cannot get private insurance to cover the full potential liability of a reactor catastrophe.

But Bennett’s maneuver, supported by Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) would divert billions away from renewables and efficiency, and into these failed terror targets.

Calls and letters are desperately needed to the Congressional leadership—NOW!— to flush this horrific boondoggle out of the stimulus package. With White House pressure mounting to get it passed this week, every minute counts.

Numerous major national environmental organizations offer websites from which to sign on and send letters, including www.nirs.org , www.beyondnuclear.org and www.nukefree.org. The Congressional phone line is 202-224-3121 or (toll free) 800-962-3524.

Do not hesitate: the melt-down you prevent could otherwise kill you; the money re-directed to green alternatives could save our planet…and our economy.

HARVEY WASSERMAN, a co-founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy, is editing the nukefree.org web site. He is the author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, is at www.solartopia.org. He can be reached at: Windhw@aol.com

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Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.prn.fm

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