Tell Secretary Chu: Stop taxpayer loans for Georgia reactors!
Two years ago, the Department of Energy approved a conditional loan guarantee 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. The DOE should rescind this loan now, before the losses pile up.
While the NRC has granted a construction/operating license to these reactors, several environmental groups 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.
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