This is big. The $8.3 Billion taxpayer loan for construction of two new reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia, the centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s support for the “nuclear renaissance,” may be blocked–by the Obama Administration.
Please act today: Tell President Obama to stop nuclear loans for good.
It’s a 20-SECOND PHONE CALL: (202) 456-1111
HERE’S THE BACKGROUND, FROM OUR FRIENDS AT NIRS:
According to an article Friday from the industry publication Platt’s, the nuclear industry is worried that the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will not give final approval for the Vogtle loan. That’s because the nuclear industry wants a sweetheart deal–one where Southern Company puts up virtually none of its own money and where all financial risk for the loan is laid squarely on the shoulder of federal taxpayers (and state ratepayers).
But both OMB and the Dept. of Energy have come under scathing criticism, especially from Congressional Republicans, over the failure of the Solyndra solar company loan granted by the Administration.
And the proposed Vogtle loan would be 15 times larger (and far riskier) than the one given to Solyndra.
And the Vogtle project is already suffering $100’s of millions in cost overruns.
Thus, the Administration is being more cautious over the Vogtle loan than it would have been when first agreed to more than two years ago. And the more public scrutiny the Administration receives–and the more contacts to the president–the more likely that caution will lead to a cancellation of this loan.
Our actions now matter–a lot.
A big step in more public scrutiny was obtained Thursday, as our friends at Southern Alliance for Clean Energy won a court victory against the Department of Energy that will force DOE to disclose at least some of the terms of the Vogtle loan.
Another big blow to the economics of the Vogtle project, and thus the financial viability of the loan, was delivered yesterday by John Rowe, the recently-retired Chairman of the Exelon Corporation, the nation’s largest nuclear utility. He said unequivocally that new nuclear reactors “don’t make any sense right now.” Rowe was a major contributor and campaign “bundler” to the 2008 Obama campaign, and his words carry a lot of weight at the White House.
Don’t forget there is precedence: the only other loan for new reactor construction offered by the Obama Adminstration was for the proposed Calvert Cliffs-3 reactor in Maryland. The terms of that loan were rejected by Constellation Energy, helping lead to Constellation’s withdrawal from the project.
In Vogtle’s case, Georgia ratepayers are already paying for the Vogtle reactors through the state’s early cost recovery law. But an Obama Administration assessment that the taxpayer loan is too economically risky could also cause re-examination of that state law.
We need to assure that the Administration feels public pressure to protect taxpayers and avoid another Solyndra, and to reject the sweetheart deal that Southern Company wants.
The strength of our actions now could determine the fate of new nuclear power in the U.S. Please act, please encourage everyone else to act too.
SEE MORE FROM OUR FRIENDS AT NIRS: www.nirs.org