Nuclear Power

Tell Congress You Won't Underwrite Nuclear Power

click here Friends of the Earth has been working behind the scenes to kill a provision in the Democrats energy bill that would force taxpayers to underwrite a new generation of nuclear reactors.

The good news is that this provision is on the ropes and can be cut out of the energy bill with one more public push. The final bill will come up for a vote next week, so now is the perfect time to rattle Congress' cage.

Why shouldn't the public underwrite nuclear power?

It's Not Economically Viable: Nuclear power already receives billions of dollars every year in taxpayer subsidies, and the public already insures the reactors against accidents.  But even with this existing corporate welfare, industry officials admit they can't build a single new plant without making the taxpayer the fall guy for any bad loans.  Worse, industry experts warn that the default rate on the loans could be up to 50 percent!

It Would Set Back the Fight Against Global Warming: Experts suggest that we must triple the number of nuclear reactors in the U.S. in order to make a dent in global warming.  With a price tag of $5 billion per reactor and a historic construction timeline around 10 years, we're not likely to see the 200-300 needed new reactors anytime soon.  (We currently have just over 100 reactors and many of those would have to be replaced as they reach retirement age.)  Alternatives, like wind, solar and conservation programs can produce results more quickly and affordably.

It's Not Safe: The U.S. still doesn't know what to do with the radioactive waste that we have already generated, let alone the waste we continue to produce with existing reactors (this waste is currently being stored in dilapidating, "temporary" pools on the power plant sites).  And even if our government were to decide upon a permanent repository, such as Yucca Mountain, would you want trains transporting that waste riding your town's railroad tracks on a regular basis? How do you feel about tripling the number of radioactive terrorist targets, or tripling the chances for an accident like Three Mile Island or Chernobyl?

Tell your Senators and Representative to reject taxpayer-backed loan guarantees in the energy bill