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Feb-28-2014 09:24printcomments

Reactor Reax Top Stories - Taxpayers Finance Nuclear Plants

"Reactor Reax" is brought to you by Physicians for Social Responsibility.

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(WASHINGTON, DC) - Why is the Obama administration using taxpayer money to back a nuclear plant that's already being built?, Washington Post, February 21, 2014. "Less than a decade ago, the nuclear industry was anticipating a renaissance, fueled by hopes that climate concerns about fossil fuels would trump safety worries and would help rally support beyond the industry's usual allies. Congress tried to do its part by approving in the 2005 Energy Policy Act a $17.5 billion program of nuclear loan guarantees. But even with that help, building a nuclear plant is extremely expensive, and for a single utility, even a large one, to undertake such a project means betting the farm, as former Duke Energy chief executive Jim Rogers once put it. Moreover, costs rose since 2005. While Congress envisioned helping half a dozen reactors or more, the program is now expected to cover only three or four. Then, if those challenges weren't enough, the industry was hit by the recession, competition from low natural gas prices, and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that destroyed three reactors at the Fukushima plant and fanned safety concerns worldwide. It wasn't just a perfect storm. It was three perfect storms."

Taxpayers Fund Nuclear Plants, National Review, February 24, 2014. "This government-subsidized funding comes shortly after a series of three blows to the nuclear industry. The continuing economic stagnation that began in the late 2000s, competition from low-priced natural gas, and safety concerns after the Fukishima plant reactor leak in Japan have combined to put this new nuclear plant on unsure footing. The Vogtle project was already $737 million over budget as of last year. Someestimate that it is $1.6 billion over budget now. The nuclear companies are arguing that this loan is not like that given to Solyndra or other failed 'green' projects, which produced technology costs so high even generous subsidies couldn't save them. Nuclear energy, on the other hand has been around for decades, and when functioning properly a nuclear plant produces high volumes of energy. But if the companies default, it will matter little difference that they are nuclear, not solar. The taxpayers will feel it all the same."

'Fukushima' sounds warning on nuclear energy, Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2014. "A recent study by the Department of Energy has concluded that the MOX project currently under construction at the Savannah River Site may cost up to $30 billion over its life cycle. The news prompted South Carolina's senators to meet with the Department of Energy Secretary last week. Currently, the facility is about 60 percent complete, but the project has undergone cost overruns and delays. The Government Accountability Office reported in June that the plant is $3 billion over budget, costing an estimated $7.7 billion. The cost overruns have led interest groups to search for alternative methods to dispose of the plutonium."

Cooling tubes at FPL St. Lucie nuke plant show significant wear, Tampa Bay Times, February 22, 2014. "Yet another Florida nuclear plant may be in trouble. More than 3,700 tubes that help cool a nuclear reactor at Florida Power & Light's St. Lucie facility exhibit wear. Most other similar plants have between zero and a few hundred. Worst case: A tube bursts and spews radioactive fluid. That's what happened at the San Onofre plant in California two years ago. The plant shut down forever because it would have cost too much to fix."

Nuclear power plant: Security, dirty bombs and civil rights, The Daily Star/Dhaka, Bangladesh (Opinion), Quamrul Haider, professor of physics at Fordham University, New York, February 27, 2014. "Thus if nuclear power plants are to be well-enough protected to be totally immune to the above risks, the unavoidable consequence is a society dominated by prohibitions, surveillance and constraints, all justified by the magnitude of the danger. Consequently, it is inevitable that preference should be given to pliant and obedient character type workers. The use of nuclear energy, therefore, epitomises the centralisation of the government's power, thereby resulting in infringement on the civil rights of the citizens."

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