Subject: Gang of 20 bill: Biggest nuke giveaway ever; Natl Call-in Day Sept 17
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 16:52:04 -0400
“Michael Mariotte” <email@example.com>
ALERT ALERT ALERT
GANG OF 10 BILL: BIGGEST GIVEAWAY TO NUCLEAR POWER INDUSTRY EVER
NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY: WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
This is it. In the mainstream media, the Gang of 10 (actually, now it’s the Gang of 20) energy bill is all about offshore oil drilling. And, to be sure, there’s lots of that in the bill, which is expected to come up in the Senate late next week. But the bill would also be the biggest giveaway to the nuclear power industry ever.
Unlimited loan guarantees for construction of new atomic reactors. That’s right, unlimited. As much moneyhundreds of billions of dollars–as everyone in the nuclear industry wants, when it wants, for as long as it wants.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how that would absolutely destroy our ability to effectively address the climate crisis and what a disaster that would be for our economy, for our nation, for our planet.
How do these Senators think they can get away with this? Because they’re not hearing from enough of us, often enough. They think this is a popular stand. We all need to stand up now and be counted.
That’s why NIRS, Physicians for Social Responsibility and other national groups are putting out the word for a National Call-In Day to the Senate on Wednesday, September 17. We need at least 10,000 phone calls to the Senate on Wednesday. We need the phones there to be ringing non-stop from dawn to dusk. Will you help?
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
*Please call both of your Senators that day with a very simple message: Take taxpayer loan guarantees for nuclear power out of the Gang of 20 energy bill. (note: the bill does not yet have a number. It’s called the New Energy Reform Act of 2008, but everyone will know what you are talking about if you just say “Gang of 20 energy bill.”)
*Please forward this Alert to any and all of your mailing lists.
*Please print this Alert and take it to any public meetings and gather places you go to between now and Wednesday. Post it at food co-ops and other central locations.
*Please talk to your friends and colleagues, congregations this Sunday, PTAs next week. Spread the word.
*If you want to e-mail your Senators, please do (you can do so from this link; NIRS’ new e-mail-from-our-Alerts set-up still has some bugs, so we can’t quite offer that yet). But also call! It is important to keep those phones ringing all day long!
*Call even if you think your Senator(s) are hopeless. Everyone walking in the halls of the Senate should hear phones ringing everywhere, all day long.
We can’t let the nuclear industry get away with this. All that can stop it now are your actions. If we all just sit back and wait for someone else to take action, we will lose. If we all make those two callsone to each Senator, and ask each of our friends and colleagues to make those two calls, we can show the Senate what the American people really think. And we can win.
It is up to each of us. It’s that simple, and that stark.
Please take five minutes to make two phone calls Wednesday. And please drop us an e-mail and let us know you called (we’ll be looking for 10,000 e-mails in our inbox by Thursday morning!).
Thank you for all that you do.
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
September 12, 2008
P.S. For those who want more information:
You can read a Physicians for Social Responsibility analysis of the nuclear provisions in the Gang of 20 energy bill here. The bill includes not just loan guarantees, but also more “risk insurance” for new nukes, construction of a reprocessing plant, and much more.
You can read a longer article on the issue I wrote for DailyKos here.
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Subject: Act Now to stop new nuke subsidies
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 16:40:00 -0400
From: “Michael Mariotte” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
ALERT ALERT ALERT
BILLIONS IN NUCLEAR POWER SUBSIDIES MAY BE ADDED TO OIL DRILLING/ENERGY BILLS WHEN CONGRESS RETURNS
CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES NOW: NO MORE NUCLEAR SUBSIDIES!
Dear Sustainable Energy Advocates:
When Congressmembers return to Washington after Labor Day, we expect fast action in both the Senate and House on new energy legislation. Exactly what that new energy legislation will be is not clear at this point, but behind-the-scenes, nuclear industry advocates are gearing up for a new push for billions of dollars in new taxpayer subsidies for new reactor construction and other industry wish list items.
It is important to contact both of your senators, and your representative now, before they return to Washington and things begin moving quickly. Most Congressmembers are back in their home districts so it is worth contacting both their Washington offices and local offices. It is also a good idea to meet them on the campaign trail and bring up nuclear subsidies at campaign events.
The Capitol Switchboard is 202-224-3121. You can also look up your House member’s direct contact information here: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml#va and your Senators’ information here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
The message to your Congressmembers is simple: No More Nuclear Subsidies! Do Not Include ANY Nuclear Subsidies in any energy bills.
Public opinion polls continue to show that nuclear power is just about the least popular energy option, while renewable energy sources continue to be the most supported by the public. For example, a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released August 20 found that 72% believe developing “alternative” (i.e. renewable) energy sources could “accomplish a great deal.” Only about 40% said that of new nuclear power. Similarly, an August 9 ABC News poll found only 44% support new reactor construction. Congress shouldn’t fall for the nuclear industry’s self-serving pronouncements about the need or public support for new nuclear power.
Please contact your Congressmembers today.
Thanks for all you do.
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
email@example.com; www.nirs.org; 301-270-6477
In early August, 10 senatorsfive Democrats and five Republicansreleased a “compromise” energy plan to allow for some offshore oil drilling. The group has been dubbed the Gang of 10. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he is likely to allow a vote on an energy bill in September. However, the Gang of 10 have not yet put their compromise into legislative form, so there is no bill number or exact language. While the Gang of 10’s plan has been widely reported on, few have noticed that their plan includes $80+ to $160+ Billion in new subsidies for the nuclear power industry.
In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated she too is likely to allow a vote on some sort of energy bill in September. Again, no specific bill language has yet been announced. However, a group of predominately Republican House members have introduced what they call the “All of the Above” energy bill (HR 6384) which would include about $120 billion in new nuclear subsidies.
While neither the Gang of 10’s nor the All of the Above proposals are likely to be voted on as is, the threat that massive new nuclear subsidies will be added to an energy package is very real. That’s why it’s so important to contact your Members now, before a final energy bill is introduced.
Michele Boyd of Physicians for Social Responsibility has provided the following list of items that currently are in the two main proposals so far:
Billions of Dollars of Nuclear Subsidies Hidden in Proposed Offshore Drilling Bills
New Energy Reform Act of 2008 (Not in legislative form yet; bill number not available)
TOTAL subsidies for nuclear power: $87.8 billion – $166.7 billion
· Increases Number of Nuclear Regulatory Commission Staff: Increases NRC staff to process applications for new reactors and to further streamline the licensing process. In FY08, NRC has budgeted $216.9 million for 587 full-time-equivalent (FTE) staff to review 12 new reactor applications. This is an increase of $124.3 million for 283 additional FTE staff compared to FY07. The cost to taxpayers will be $12.4 million in FY08. As many as 8 additional applications are expected in FY09.
· Funds Nuclear Workers Training Program: Authorizes $100 million over 5 years for the Department of Labor to implement training programs for nuclear workers.
· Creates Working Group to Promote US Nuclear Manufacturing: Creates interagency working group to promote a domestic manufacturing base for nuclear components and equipment.
· Builds Reprocessing Facility: Authorizes funding and directs DOE to begin construction on a reprocessing R&D facility within one year. According to DOE in March 2006, such a facility would cost $1.5 billion.
· Authorizes DOE to Enter Into Risk Insurance Contracts: Allows DOE to enter into contracts for “standby support” (i.e. “risk insurance” to pay the industry for delays in obtaining NRC approval to turn on a constructed reactor). EPACT 2005 authorized $2 billion for this subsidy to cover 6 new reactors.
· Authorizes Unlimited Loan Guarantees (estimated cost: $84.2 billion to $163.1 billion*):
o Expands the definition of “project costs” to include startup and financing costs, which puts billions more taxpayer dollars at risk.
o Provides for a combination of appropriations and project sponsor funding to pay for the administrative and subsidy costs (currently this funding is to come only from the project sponsor).
o Exempts the loan guarantee program from Sec. 504(b) of FCRA. Under this section of FCRA, DOE is required to obtain congressional budget authority before committing to loan guarantees. This provision would eliminate this requirement, thereby allowing DOE to give out unlimited guarantees without congressional authorization.
o Clarifies that the loan guarantees can cover 80% of 100% of the project costs (unclear from summary whether it actually requires this, but likely).
* The nuclear industry is proposing 34 new reactors. Current estimates per reactor (without cost overruns) range from $6.2 billion to $12 billion per reactor. Unlimited loan guarantees that cover 80% of the 34 projects would guarantee $168.6 billion to $326.4 billion. The nuclear industry expects to pay $100 million in fees. Assuming these reactors have the 50% default rate as projected by the Congressional Budget Office, the taxpayer cost would be $84.2 billion to $163.1 billion.
Americans for American Energy Act of 2008 (HR 6384)
TOTAL subsidies for nuclear power: > $120 billion
· Subsidizes Reprocessing of Spent Fuel (Sec. 501): Authorizes the use of the Nuclear Waste Fund to make grants to or enter into contracts with companies for reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel (Sec. 501). There is currently about $20 billion in the Nuclear Waste Fund, far less than would be needed to reprocess spent fuel in the U.S. According to the National Academy of Sciences, reprocessing only the spent fuel that we have today would cost at least $100 billion.
· Fast-Tracks and Subsidizes Rulemaking for Reprocessing Facilities (Sec. 502): Requires the NRC to complete a rulemaking for reprocessing facilities within 2 years and authorizes Nuclear Waste Fund money to cover NRC’s costs. This is extremely premature because DOE does not know the full complement of necessary technologies will be or if they would ever work.
· Takes the Nuclear Waste Fund “Off-Budget” Takes the Nuclear Waste Fund “off-budget” so that expenditures from the Fund are not counted as part of Congress’ spending or the national deficit (Sec. 503). Currently, Congress must approve expenditures from the Nuclear Waste Fund annually in an appropriation bill and these expenditures are counted as part of the federal deficit. This change would allow $20 billion of nuclear ratepayers’ money to flow unchecked into the troubled Yucca Mountain Project to develop a nuclear waste repository in Nevada and into restarting the failed nuclear waste reprocessing effort of the 1970s.
· Codifies Waste Confidence (Sec. 504) Prevents the NRC from being able to deny a license or permit application on the grounds that there is nowhere for nuclear waste to go. The NRC’s “waste confidence rule,” states that there will be a repository for spent fuel “in a timely manner” and therefore the agency does not need to consider the problem of waste piling up at nuclear reactor sites as part of its review of license extensions or new license applications. This provision would codify this rule by forbidding the NRC from denying an application on the grounds that there is not sufficient capacity. Given that the only proposed site for a permanent geologic repository has not yet begun the NRC’s licensing process and that the site is more than 20 years from accepting waste even if it is licensed, it is unlikely that waste will be moving from reactor sites “in a timely manner.” This measure would bypass what should be a scientific and technical determination and sets up the federal government for additional lawsuits by the nuclear industry for failing to meet its commitment to dispose of spent nuclear fuel.
· Gives Tax Break for Nuclear Components Certification (Sec. 505) Gives a 15% tax credit to companies for ASME nuclear component certification or for increasing capacity to construct, assemble, or install nuclear components from 2008 to the end of 2019. A large number of parts used to build a nuclear reactor must be certified by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), which costs between $25,000 and $35,000 per certification. This tax break, valid until 2019, would cost taxpayers as much as $5,250 per certification.
· Authorizes Nuclear Science and Engineering Scholarships (Sec 1109): Requires that the Department of Energy award at least 65 grants of 400,000 over 4 years to undergraduate institutions to provide scholarships to students studying nuclear science and engineering. This program would cost taxpayers at least $26 million.
· Requires Recommendations on Nuclear Workforce Development (Sec. 1110) Requires that within 120 days the Department of Energy provide Congress with recommendations for developing the nuclear workforce in the U.S.
Gives Away Cash Prize for Technologies to Store Spent Fuel (Sec. 1203) Requires the Department of Energy to award undetermined amounts of cash prizes to advance innovative energy technologies and new energy sources, including awards for storing spent nuclear fuel.
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Filed under: enivornment, Indigenous, nuclear, Nuclear Waste, nuclear weapons | Tagged: Gang of 20 bill: Biggest nuke giveaway ever, Natl Call-in Day, Sept 17 | 1 Comment »