Archive for Saturday, February 13, 2010

Official: Obama to give nuke plant loan

February 13, 2010


— President Barack Obama next week will announce a loan guarantee to build the first nuclear power plant in the United States in almost three decades, an administration official said Friday.

The two new Southern Co. reactors to be built in Burke, Ga., are part of a White House energy plan administration officials hope will draw Republican support. Obama’s direct involvement in announcing the award underscores the political weight the White House is putting behind its effort to use nuclear power and alternative energy sources to lessen American dependence on foreign oil and reduce the use of other fossil fuels blamed for global warming.

Loan guarantees for other sites are expected to be announced in the coming months, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the decision had not yet been made public. The federal guarantees are seen as essential for construction of any new reactor because of the huge expense involved. Critics call the guarantees a form of subsidy and say taxpayers will assume a huge risk, given the industry’s record of cost overruns and loan defaults.

Even with next week’s announcement, actual construction of the first reactor is still years away. The Southern Co. has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a construction and operating license for the plant, one of 13 such applications the agency is considering. NRC spokesman Eliot Brenner said the earliest any of those could be approved would be late 2011 or early 2012.

The Southern Co. has begun site preparation in Burke, but cannot begin construction without NRC approval.

Obama called for “a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants” in his Jan. 27 State of the Union speech, and followed that by proposing to triple loan guarantees for new nuclear plants. Obama’s budget for the coming year would add $36 billion in new federal loan guarantees on top of $18.5 billion already budgeted — but not spent — for a total of $54.5 billion. That’s enough to help build six or seven new nuclear plants, which can cost $8 billion to $10 billion each.

The proposed new reactors would generate power for some 1.4 million people and employ about 850 people, the official said, adding that the Georgia project would create about 3,000 construction jobs.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

If Obama is going to push nuclear power, a really bad idea IMHO, he should at least also push for the repeal of the Price-Anderson act, which limits the liability for any accidents at nuclear plants. Any other subsidies should also be eliminated. The nuclear waste problem also needs a solution (although there probably isn't one.) Nuclear power has been subsidized for decades. If it's going to succeed, it should do so on a level playing field.

But, of course, if all of that were to happen, it's almost certain that none would ever be built.

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

Wow...I'm always trashing Obama, but this is a great move. Alright, now I'm going to see folks wringing their hands and whining about 'nuclear waste'. isn't the 70s anymore! There is a process called 'purex' that reduces 'nuclear waste' by 95% as well as allowing 'spent fuel rods' to be used for other things. There is no cheaper form of such a large quantity of power than nuclear. Nuclear also puts no c02 in the air, and LESS (that's right, less) radioactive material than coal burning. Finally using more nuclear power would free up hydrogen and natural gas for alternative uses. Do some research for yourself. (Wind and solar are great and should be pursued further, but are nowhere near as efficient as nuclear.) Nuclear is widely used by industrial countries throughout Europe...when is the last time you heard about any accidents? can now sit close to a color TV set and not go blind. Its 2010, how about you join us? Great idea Barry (that might be the last time I say that!)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

If it's such a great deal, why does it need such massive government subsidies, mr right wing?

And just to clear up the "no CO2" myth-- that's only true if you ignore the massive amounts generated in the construction of the plant, and the amounts generated in the mining, processing and transportation of the fuel consumed and the waste that's produced.

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

All I can recommend is that folks look into this themselves, there are sooo many outdated myths out there. A good place to start is with Patrick Moore's website "GreenSpirit" the man is one of the founding members of "Greenpeace" and has completely changed his opinion on nuclear and the environment. (You can also do a search on his name and find article after article in major publications.)

Another 70s can eat 'pop rocks' (if you can find them) and cola not not die.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

Patrick Moore is a complete sellout and shill for any industry willing to hire him.

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

Well you can discount all you want. I'll give you one more (of plenty, but I'm not going to waste my day.)

This talk show host; out of ultra-liberal California, not to mention ultra-ultra liberal San Francisco (Lawrence of the West Coast). First got me started in researching nuclear power. He freed me from the myths that nuclear is evil and dangerous.

What about our extremely liberal President being open to getting back on the nuclear band wagon? That's pretty shocking itself.

You do realize that a watermelon will not begin growing in your stomach if you eat the seeds....or that you can step on all the cracks you like and your mom's back will more likely than no be OK.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

The Argument Against Nuclear Power Climate Crisis: Nuclear energy cannot address issues connected to the greenhouse gas buildup. Nuclear power plants are too costly, take too long to build, and are too expensive to operate to affect the problem in time. In fact, investments in nuclear power deprive other efforts, such as conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, of much-needed funding.

Routine Radioactive Releases: All reactors release radiation into the air, water and soil and cannot be described as “emissions-free.” Children are especially vulnerable and cannot be shielded from cancer-causing radiation in the environment. In fact, national radiation protection standards fall short of protecting those most vulnerable to the harmful effects of radiation, basing their evaluation on impacts to a “standard” healthy, young, white adult male.

Terrorism: The opportunity for theft by terrorists of nuclear materials usable in even a "dirty bomb" would susbtantially increase if nuclear power is expanded. This could result in a level of destruction hitherto unenvisaged. Reactors are themselves terrorist targets and current ones are not even defended to the level of the 9/11 assault – 19 men in four teams, including air attack scenarios. Thirty-two U.S. reactors have fuel pools on the upper levels of the reactor building, shielded only by sheet metal and an open invitation to air attack.

Radioactive Waste: The entire nuclear fuel chain, from mining to milling, processing, enrichment, fuel fabrication, and fuel irradiation in reactors, generates radioactive waste. Nuclear reactors produce large amounts of long-lasting, deadly radioactive waste. There is no operating repository site anywhere in the world for high-level radioactive waste. “Low-level” radioactive waste, a misnomer, is dumped into landfills or incinerated, contaminating our water and air. Efforts to recycle it into consumer goods threaten our health.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago


Exorbitant Cost: Cost estimates for new reactor construction continue to soar and are unpredictable. Congress has already awarded the nuclear industry $18.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for new reactor construction and nuclear boosters are pressing for far more. When the utilities default on these loans, taxpayers will foot the bill. Nuclear power has already been subsidized to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars over the past 50 years.

Accidents: New reactors, like old ones, are at their most vulnerable to accidents. Yet in the event of an accident, existing evacuation plans have been found to be unrealistic. Furthermore, the Price-Anderson Act ensures that the liability of an accident to a utility is capped at $10.8 billion. A serious reactor accident could cost as much as $600 billion, the balance of which would likely be paid by taxpayers.

Reactors and Bombs: Reactors and the nuclear fuel chain facilities they are connected to set the stage for atomic weapons production. Therefore the world cannot free itself from nuclear weapons while reactors and nuclear fuel chain facilities such as uranium enrichment and reprocessing factories exist. The tensions over Iran, North Korea, India and Pakistan perfectly illustrate this point.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

" I'll give you one more (of plenty, but I'm not going to waste my day.)"

Looks to me that all of your "research" has been a grand waste of time, although I guess you at least discovered that it's safe to eat watermelon.

Scott Drummond 8 years ago

"What about our extremely liberal President being open to getting back on the nuclear band wagon? That's pretty shocking itself."

Not really, your premise is in error. Obama is by no means extremely liberal.

Although a progressive socialist, myself, I support this decision. We need to do all we can to free ourselves from our addiction to oil and this is a step in the right direction. In any event, it's going to be in Georgia and if there are problems with safety and accidents it will only harm some of the dumber and more ignorant, and, of course, republican leaning people. No great loss, in my opinion.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"We need to do all we can to free ourselves from our addiction to oil and this is a step in the right direction."

How will deepening our addiction to uranium be an improvement? (especially considering that the US does not have an inexhaustible supply.)

Scott Drummond 8 years ago

It will diversify our energy sources and allow us to better manage our energy needs. We've built our society on oil and a sprawling car based infrastructure and the consequences over the last 30 years have been catastrophic on multiple levels. Continued over reliance on oil means we are living on borrowed time. We need to develop multiple options to promptly and significantly reduce our dependence on oil and those who control oil reserves. Look at what the soul of this country has experienced in the last 100 years as a result of this addiction to oil. Time to get going on kicking the habit.

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

Your source 'bozo' itself is propaganda and fraudulent. So...

an anonymous (literally) bozo


Greenpeace founder (who was asked to testify before a democratically controlled U.S. Congressional Committee) Patrick Moore.


Dr. Bill Wattenburg is a senior research scientist at the Research Foundation, California State University, Chico; and a scientific consultant for the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and many other institutions. He is a former nuclear weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; a former member of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board; and a former UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering.

(That is a very abridged list of credentials, the complete list can be found here...)

Gee, I think I might lose some sleep tonight trying to figure out who to believe....

One more far as Patrick Moore being a 'sell-out'. Do you really imagine he makes more money with his own little group that not everyone has heard about, versus one of the founding members of Greenpeace?

You do also realize Bozo that if you think too much smoke really doesn't come out of your ears. So give it a try (think-don't worry about taking the battery out of your smoke detector.)

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

Geez...what is this, make MRW verify everything day??,1165264

I apologize that I did not particularly mention the 'radiation' coming from a (then new) color TV set.

You'd probably expose yourself to more radiation with one of those old TVs than if you spent a whole day at a modern day nuclear power plant...but I cannot prove that.

Next challenge? ....shheeesh!

RogueThrill 8 years ago

Nuclear power is the only way to go in the short term. Even at it's worst in the US it is safer than coal. If we do it properly and the government HEAVILY regulates it and subsidizes it it is perfectly safe.

RogueThrill 8 years ago

Also, I am a "far left liberal."

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

Nevermind "Did_I_say_that". I just realized what you meant. I never was really adept with 'locker-room humor'.

mr_right_wing 8 years ago

...a little humor was deffinately needed...

Flap Doodle 8 years ago

That popping sound you hear in the distance is greenie-weenie heads exploding.

jumpin_catfish 8 years ago

Nuke is green right, you glow green! How you greenies like obama now? hmmmm

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