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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fight them Financially, you are the taxpayer, Don't be a Putz

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February 23, 2011
Dear Friends,
Two years ago, President Obama personally announced approval of a conditional taxpayer loan for new nuclear reactors in Georgia. Much has happened in those two years that make this conditional loan questionable at best, and more likely an $8 Billion+ loss to taxpayers. Indeed, two years later, President Obama's new budget asks for no new loan money for nuclear reactors--a dramatic shift from the past and one that reflects the reality of 2012. The DOE should now rescind this conditional loan for new reactors in Georgia, before the losses pile up.

Tell Secretary Chu to stop these loans now.

While the NRC has granted a construction/operating license to these reactors--the condition that was to spark the taxpayer loan, several environmental groups, including NIRS, have filed suit in federal court charging that the granting of this license was illegal. Clearly, taxpayer loans must not be granted before the outcome of this suit is known.

The conditional loan guarantee was granted under the presumption that the reactors would be built on time and on budget. Today, even before real construction has begun, these reactors are already behind schedule and over budget, according to the Georgia Public Service Commission's own watchdog. The original Vogtle reactors were 1200% over budget when completed. The potential for taxpayer losses that would dwarf the Solyndra debacle is extraordinarily high. After all, this loan would be 15 times larger than the Solyndra loan, and is probably 50 times riskier.

At the time the conditional loan was granted, there was a belief that there might be a nuclear power "renaissance" in the U.S. After Fukushima, that is clearly not happening. Even Standard & Poor's last week found the prospects of such a "renaissance" to be "faint." The Georgia reactors have not been required to meet post-Fukushima regulatory guidelines, and will not inspire construction of other new reactors. There is simply no justification to continue with these loans.

Tell Secretary Chu to stop these loans now.

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