Obama trumpets green energy. Green energy will make us energy independent and pollution-free.
He puts his money where his mouth is. Well, he puts our money where his mouth is.
He believes in green energy, and his policy is costing plenty of green.
The money going to subsidize nuclear power. Private nuclear power. Good Old Boy lobbying nuclear power.
Take that, crunchies! Take that, tree-huggers!
Over the last 60 years, the U.S. government has subsidized nuclear power to the tune of $95 billion (2011 dollars). That’s only for research. That does not count the outright subsidies to the nuclear power companies.
Ah, free enterprise! Ah, entrepreneurship! It’s the ownership society. The special interests own Congress.
Solyndra scandal? Nothing to it. The real boondoggles are radioactive.
But federal R&D was not enough; the industry also wanted federal liability insurance too, which it got back in 1957 with the Price-Anderson Act. This federal liability insurance program for nuclear plants was meant to be temporary, but Congress repeatedly extended it, most recently through 2025. Price-Anderson puts taxpayers on the hook for losses that exceed $12. 6 billion if there is a nuclear plant disaster.
But wait! There’s more!
From tax breaks for uranium mining and loan guarantees for uranium enrichment to special depreciation benefits and lucrative federal tax breaks for every kilowatt hour from new plants, nuclear is heavily subsidized at every phase. The industry also bilks taxpayers when plants close down with tax breaks for decommissioning plants. Further, it is estimated that the federal costs for the disposal of radioactive nuclear waste could be as much as $100 billion.
And still more!
Even with all of those subsidies, the private sector still will not agree to finance a new nuclear plant, so wealthy nuclear corporations recently secured access to $18.5 billion in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees. Maybe the Wall Street banks agree with the Congressional Budget Office, which estimated the risk of default on nuclear loans at above 50 percent.
This is American ingenuity — the ingenuity of getting bankrolled by Uncle Sam.
For example, Exelon, which takes in $33 billion in revenue annually, is the leading operator/owner of nuclear reactors in the United States. Entergy, with revenues of more than $11 billion annually, is the second largest. Together, these two companies own or operate almost one-third of U.S. reactors, and based on their revenue they are doing pretty well. Why do they need endless federal welfare for their industry year after year after year? Will it ever end?
Will it ever end? Of course. When Washington’s checks start bouncing.