Nuclear Energy Power Plants Versus Solar/Wind - Throw Enough Money at Nuclear and Off it GoesSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Nuclear Energy Power Plants Versus Solar/Wind - Throw Enough Money at Nuclear and Off it Goes

22 January 2007 at 3:12:35 PM

Great article from MSNBC about how the buzz about nuclear energy in the Unites States (to include Comanche Peak in Glen Rose) is masking the fact that when you throw enough money, via Congressional subsidies that Republican-controlled congress passed, any energy industry could get a push.

Buoyed by billions of dollars in subsidies pushed through Congress by the Bush administration, the U.S. nuclear power industry says 2007 is the year its plans for a “renaissance” will reach critical mass. ...

.....critics say the real catalyst has been well-funded lobbying by the industry. They believe tax dollars spent to jump-start the dormant industry would be better devoted to alternative energy sources like wind and solar power.

"If this were a renaissance, you wouldn’t need to be enticing giant corporations with subsidies in order to get them to build reactors they claim are economically viable,” said Jim Riccio, nuclear policy analyst for the environmental group Greenpeace, a staunch foe of nuclear energy.

Who pushed this?

With those talking points in hand, the industry saw its best opening in years in the 2000 presidential election and backed the Bush-Cheney ticket with nearly $270,000 in contributions, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The victorious Republicans welcomed industry representatives to their energy transition team and later private discussions by Vice President Dick Cheney’s task force on energy. ..

One of the biggest names on the Bush energy transition team was Thomas Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, which represents the electric power industry and its nuclear reactor owners. Not only was Kuhn the president’s Yale classmate and longtime friend, he was one of Bush’s biggest fund-raisers. A study by Common Cause found that in the six years that bracketed the 2000 election, Kuhn’s organization and its members gave $41 million to political campaigns, three-fourths of it to Republicans.

Cheney also had close ties to players with stakes in the nuclear sector. When the vice president was CEO of Halliburton, the company’s portfolio included Nuclear Utility Services. His close friend, former Texas Rep. Tom Loeffler, another big Republican fund-raiser, worked as a lobbyist on nuclear issues. And Cheney’s wife, Lynne, had served on the board of directors of Lockheed Martin, which earned millions from the federal government managing the Sandia Nuclear Laboratory in New Mexico.

The bill

Nuclear industry perks in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 were spotlighted when President Bush  signed the bill at Sandia National Lab in Domenci's home state of New Mexico. With his signature, billions in federal assistance flowed from Bush’s pen into the nuclear “renaissance,” including:

  • $3 billion in research subsidies.
  • More than $3 billion in construction subsidies for new nuclear power plants.
  • Nearly $6 billion in operating tax credits.
  • More than $1 billion in subsidies to decommission old plants.
  • A 20-year extension of liability caps for accidents at nuclear plants.
  • Federal loan guarantees for the construction of new power plants.

Critics say the energy bill amply rewarded the industry for years of investment in campaign contributions and lobbying.

There are still issues that remain, such as safety, nuclear waste, etc. And, as said above, I'd rather have all that money that *I* and *YOU* are paying to the nuclear industry go instead to subsidize clean energy resources like solar and wind, etc. Wouldn't you?

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