2009/02/02: Your ACTIONS helped, says Nukewatch - $50 billion for nuclear industry NO LONGER in stimulus package

To everyone who wrote or called or emailed Mr. Obey in congress, thanks and congrats! The $50 billion in taxpayer loan guarantees for new reactors was pulled from the stimulus bill by the conference committee.This a real victory for a safe, renewable energy future. "The market" will make the sun go down on the nuclear power era once and for all.Wall Street is not investing in poison power. Why should taxpayers? Here's the news from NIRS in Washington (below).Best wishes, John LaForge for Nukewatch - nukewatch1@lakeland.ws



Late last night, we got word that the $50 Billion in taxpayer loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors and "clean coal" plants has been stripped from the final economic stimulus bill! Your actions made a huge difference.

To recap, you:


*sent more than 7,600 letters to your Senators in one week

*sent more than 3,000 letters to your Representatives in the House in three days

*sent more than 1100 letters to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just yesterday afternoon (unfortunately, most letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were blocked; we'll work on that problem with our Congressional database service).

*made thousands of phone calls to your Senators and Representatives

*brought needed attention to the issue through your blogs, letters to the editor, your Facebook and Myspace pages, and much more.

The final bill should be voted on in the House later today, and in the Senate probably tomorrow. The final bill almost certainly will pass, and there will be no amendments on this final bill, so the taxpayer money for the dirty and dangerous nuclear/coal industry will stay out of the bill.

Take a moment to celebrate today!

But make no mistake: the nuclear industry and its Congressional backers will try again, and sooner rather than later. Two days ago, for example, they began a new push to have nuclear power declared a "renewable" energy source in Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman's (D-NM) upcoming Renewable Portfolio Standard bill, which is intended to increase renewable energy production in the U.S. (although first indications are that the bill is much weaker than it should be). This is likely to become a major issue in March.

And there will be new efforts to set up a federal "clean energy bank" to finance nuclear reactors with taxpayer dollars in the coming weeks and months.

In other words, we'll have to stay vigilant and active, and continue growing this movement if we are to attain the safe, clean, nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future our nation and planet needs.

You have now proven your effectiveness, but we can and must do even more. President Obama's campaign was successful in large part because of the support of a constantly growing number of ordinary people, taking action and making small donations, that built into an enormous political force. We are taking the same approach: in the past three months, NIRS contact lists have grown by more than one-third--a key element of today's success. Let's continue building this movement!

Please make a small donation on our secure servers so we can continue our outreach and build on this success. Your support is gratefully appreciated and every penny is used as wisely as possible.

And from all of us at NIRS: THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!!!!

Michael Mariotte

Executive Director

Nuclear Information and Resource Service


www.nirs.orgPresident Obama's $800 billion economic stimulus bill includes a $50 billion subsidy to the nuclear industry. Is this the sort of "economic stimulus" you want to see? President Obama has asked citizens to participate in a national discussion about the stimulus package, with opportunities for you to submit your questions. You can submit a question -- like "Why are we giving $50 billion to the nuclear industry?" -- here...


An action alert from the organization Beyond Nuclear is below:

Call your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives TODAY,  to express your outrage and to urge them to block the up to $50 billion of new atomic reactor loan guarantees proposed in the House and Senate economic stimulus bill. Call them via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Urge your Representatives to strip the language from their version of the stimulus bill, to be voted on next week. Urge our Representative Obey to make sure such this outrage is blocked in the stimulus bill's upcoming House-Senate conference committee later this month.

You can also email your Senators via the website of Nuclear Information and Resource Service here. Watch for a group sign on letter from NIRS early next week, addressed to the Senate, opposing these nuclear power subsidies.

Secretively, without debate, hearings, or any public notification, the Senate Appropriations Committee attached this pre-emptive nuclear power industry bailout onto the stimulus bill late at night on January 27. Although the $50 billion in loan guarantees could also be used to support climate-friendly renewables and efficiency projects, Senate backers such as Bennett (R-UT) and Carper (D-DE) have made clear the  main beneficiary they envision would be the nuclear power industry. The coal industry would also vie for these loan guarantees. While efficiency and renewables could meet President Obama's call for "shovel ready" stimulus projects that could be at least begun in the next two years, new reactors and carbon sequestration projects would take much longer to even break ground. See Friends of the Earth's press release about this here.

The Bush administration and Congress approved $18.5 billion of loan guarantees for new reactors, and an additional $2 billion for new uranium enrichment, in Dec. 2007. Nuclear utilities, however, applied to the U.S. Dept. of Energy for $122 billion worth of loan guarantees for 21 new reactors last September. While that first installment will likely aid three new reactors at Calvert Cliffs Maryland, Lee South Carolina, and South Texas Project, this latest surprise money grab would help fund several additional new reactors elsewhere across the U.S. With price tags of $6 to $10 billion per reactor, and climbing, this would transfer the financial risks of loan defaults from nuclear utilities and Wall Street investment banks onto U.S. taxpayers. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated over half of new reactor projects will default on their loan repayment, leaving taxpayers holding the bag for tens of billions of dollars.

And please mark your calendars. Beyond Nuclear, NIRS, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and other anti-nuclear groups are planning a Feb. 27th national lobby day on nuclear subsidies and radioactive waste issues to coincide with a Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free training workshop by IEER and the PowerShift Energy Action Coalition climate convergence. If you can come to D.C., we can help you arrange meetings with your Congress Members! If you can't come, you can still make the phones ring off the hook on the Hill on Feb. 27th!

See Beyond Nuclear's Nuclear Subsidies Campaign website here.