Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

March 3, 2011

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director, Nuclear Information and Resource Service

In this era of Congressional budget-slashing, with programs that actually benefit real people on the chopping block, we think it's time to step up the demands:

Tell Congress, and our Iowa Legislators, not only must it oppose new taxpayer subsidies for new reactor construction, but Congress must cut the existing program to zero!

And the good news today is that the American people agree! According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News public opinion poll released this morning, cutting subsidies for new reactors is the single most popular possible budget cut, with 57% finding such cuts either completely or mostly acceptable.

The existing Department of Energy loan "guarantee" program has $10.2 Billion in unspent money for new reactor construction and another $2 Billion for uranium enrichment plants. Why should Congress be cutting programs like legal services for the poor, public broadcasting, college loans, and dozens of other programs when that money is sitting there and should never be used anyway?

In the sometimes make-believe world of Congressional budgeting, that funding actually only shows up as $120 million--but that's still a lot of money that could be spent on much more important things. The reality is, since these nuclear loan "guarantees" are actual loans from the federal treasury--make-believe budgeting or not--that's more than $12 Billion that would be going out the door, with far too much risk that it would never be seen again. And, of course, President Obama (what is he thinking?) wants to increase the nuclear loan program by another $36 Billion in next year's budget!

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