FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama’s $36 Billion Nuke Giveaway

Barack Obama’s 2012 budget marks a major escalation in the nuclear war against a green-powered future, whose advocates are already fighting back.

Amidst massive budget cuts for social and environmental programs, Obama wants $36 billion in loan guarantees for a reactor industry that cannot secure sufficient private “marketplace” financing for new construction.

In the past decade the reactor industry has spent at least $640 million lobbying for these massive advance bailouts. But since 2007, safe energy advocates have succeeded in keeping them out of the federal budget.

The $36 billion Obama wants to underwrite new reactor construction would be added to $18.5 billion set aside under George W. Bush. In 2010 Obama allocated $8.33 billion of that for two reactors under construction in Georgia. The Continuing Resolution for funding the government until the end of the 2011 fiscal year slashes all loan guarantees for energy except those for nuclear reactors and uranium enrichment.

Obama’s proposed 2012 budget does contain some additional money for renewables. But it also allocates $97 million for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) which are untested and unproven. SMRs are vulnerable to public health, radioactive waste and potential terror problems that parallel those plaguing the larger light water reactors that have proven so economically and ecologically disastrous throughout the past half-century.

Industry allies in Congress are joining the White House in trying to classify both large and small reactors as “clean energy.” Though cosmetic, the designation would allow reactor backers to fit atomic power under the rubric of long-term goals for cleaning up America’s hugely polluting energy supply.

Price tags for proposed new reactors have recently doubled and tripled. Projected at $2-3 billion as few as three years ago, proposed projects in Florida, Texas and elsewhere have soared to $10 billion and more.

The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the failure rate for reactor loan guarantees could well exceed 50%. The economic history of atomic power has been catastrophic, with the previous generation of reactors coming in on average around 200% over original cost projections. Reactors now under construction in Finland and France have soared to billions of dollars over budget and are years behind schedule.

In Georgia, where rate-payers are being forced to fund reactor construction even if the plant never opens, critics fear costs at the Vogtle site are certain to soar. New projects proposed for Texas, Maryland and South Carolina are also plagued by financial doubts.

At the same time, major breakthroughs in solar cell technology have prompted a wide range of studies showing deployment of green energy to be cheaper than new atomic power, and growing moreso.

But while slashing social programs, Obama seems determined to use taxpayer money to fund a radioactive technology that grows ever more expensive and uncompetitive.

Can the green power movement again stop the new loan guarantees, as it’s done since 2007?

“This year, with more public attention on government spending, it seems even unlikelier that Congress will approve it,” says Michael Mariotte, Executive Director of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service.

For a green-powered future, says Mariotte, “no funding for new reactors is acceptable.”

 

More articles by:

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

Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail