Strike $50 BILLION of pro nuclear fed loan from US House....

Act Today

Strike $50 BILLION

of pro-nuclear federal "loan guarantees" from

U.S. House energy legislation

Dear Friends and Colleagues of Beyond Nuclear:

Last week the U.S. Senate passed energy legislation which was a very mixed bag for safe energy. As reported in the New York Times on July 31st (see link below) the legislation was intended to support new and safe-energy development. Instead, it got hijacked at the last minute, without debate or hearings, by the nuclear industry which had a single-sentence clause inserted which could grant up to $50 BILLION in loan guarantees for the nuclear industry to construct new reactors, even of the old type, over just the next two years. Although bill author Senator Jeff Bingaman stated that this was not the intention of the legislation, this is unfortunately the reality of the bill language.
The U.S. House is next slated to take action on its version of the energy bill, HR 3221. Sec. 9202 of this bill also contains the offending pro-nuclear language. An amendment to the bill -- H.R. 969, the Federal Renewable Energy Standards Act – would promote a renewable energy portfolio standard mandating 20% of electricity production levels from renewables by 2020. Please urge your U.S. Representative to support renewables, but to block the blank check for nuclear reactors.
The message to your Representative is simple:

support amendments to delete the nuclear loan guarantees from any version of the House bill
instruct House Reconciliation Conference committee representatives to strike any nuclear loan guarantee provisions from the bill that would reconcile the House and Senate versions of the legislation later this year
If you know your Representative's name, the easy way to contact him/her is through the Capitol Switchboard at: (202)224-3121.

To find out the direct contact numbers for your Representative, go to Thomas (Library of Congress): http://thomas.loc.gov

Look on the left hand sidebar for information on how to reach your House Rep. You find him/her using the zip +4 tool provided.

TIMELINE: Action needs to take place TODAY Friday, August 3rd. Feel free to share this Alert with friends and family.

Below the link to the New York Times article, you will find a letter submitted to all 435 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives by Beyond Nuclear on Thursday, August 2nd, as well as links to further information on Public Citizen's website.

---Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear

kevin@beyondnuclear.org, www.beyondnuclear.org, (240) 462-3216

(Many thanks to Dave Kraft at Nuclear Energy Information Service in Chicago, from whose alert this one largely borrows!)

And please see the New York Times Story reproduced on the free access International Herald Tribune site: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/07/31/business/nuke.php

Letter from Beyond Nuclear hand delivered to all 435 U.S. House offices on August 2, 2007:

August 2, 2007

Dear Member of Congress,

Last week the U.S. Senate passed an energy bill containing a provision that would, if enacted, provide more than $50 BILLION in federal taxpayer backed loan guarantees for the construction of new nuclear power reactors. This single-sentence rider, which received no hearings nor debate, represents a nuclear power industry hijacking of a program intended to support the development of innovative clean energy sources. Yet, as reported by the New York Times on July 31st, $25 to $50 BILLION could be doled out by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the construction of new nuclear reactors utilizing old reactor designs in just the next two years alone, with no congressional limits or oversight on appropriations. The bill’s proposal represents a blank check of mind-boggling size, at taxpayer expense.

This same outrageous giveaway of taxpayer dollars, to an industry already heavily subsidized to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars over the past 50 years, is also contained in HR 3221, Section 9202. On behalf of our members and associates across the United States, and on behalf of American taxpayers, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to block this outlandishly greedy money grab by the nuclear power industry. Please support amendments that would delete these nuclear loan guarantees from any version of the House bill, and urge House conference committee members to strike any loan guarantee provisions from the reconciliation bill with the Senate in the months ahead.

In a June 16, 2007, floor statement, House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee chairman Visclosky indicated just how excessive the amount of loan guarantees sought by the nuclear industry is: “The request for guaranteed loans from the Nuclear Energy [Institute], subsidized by the Federal Government, is very large. It overwhelms what the [Energy & Water Appropriations] bill provides for the entire energy community. The administration had asked for a total of $4 billion for the nuclear energy industry and the coal industry. This does not come close to what the Nuclear Energy [Institute] has indicated they need. The Nuclear Energy [Institute] indicates a need for $25 billion in Federal guaranteed loans for fiscal year 2008 and more than that in fiscal year 2009.”

In 2003, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the risk of default on loan guarantees for new nuclear plants is “very high – well above 50 percent.” Although the company receiving the guarantee is expected to pay the “subsidy cost” of the guarantee (the net present value of the anticipated cost of defaults), a June 2007 CBO report on the recently passed Senate energy bill provision concluded that it is “more likely that DOE’s loan guarantee portfolio will have more projects where the subsidy fee has been underestimated than overestimated.” In short, taxpayers will be left holding the bag, to the tune of billions, and perhaps tens of billions, of dollars.

We urge Congress to safeguard its oversight on appropriations and uphold its fiscal responsibilities, rather than allow DOE to gamble with and squander unlimited amounts of taxpayer dollars on high risk atomic projects.


Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear

Special thanks to Michele Boyd, Legislative Director at Public Citizen's Energy Program, upon whose work Beyond Nuclear's letter to Congress was modeled. See the Press Release by Public Citizen opposing nuclear loan guarantees for new reactors, with a link to even further background information:


Beyond Nuclear at NPRI
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Tel: 301.270.2209 Fax: 301.270.4000
Email: info@beyondnuclear.org
Web: www.beyondnuclear.org