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Loan guarantees for nuclear plants

Are Obama's proposed $36 billion loan guarantees for nuclear plants a smart option?

Posted by Washington Post Editor on February 11, 2010 6:00 AM

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tm13 Author Profile Page :

Rahm Emmanuel has famously described President Obama's core supporters as F****** R******. Maybe he's right about something - for the very first time. News reports that the government is giving Goldman Sachs 1.25 billion dollars in interest free "liberty" bonds to build their new HQ has raised suspicions of betrayal and cynical deception to a fever pitch. The President's speech this week on nuclear energy policy may mark the Waterloo that republicans have been hoping for.

blakesouthwood Author Profile Page :

With $36 billion enough solar power farms could be built
in every state and create at least 25% of the country's electricity energy needs and it could be completed in 2 years time and put 1 million American citizens to work in production, logistics, and setting up and running.

tm13 Author Profile Page :

One of the worst aspects of President Obama's unwanted initiative to resurrect nuclear energy is that it's another sign that his words mean nothing. How unpleasantly ironic that his primary strength, his ability to speak convincingly, has become his primary weakness. No one takes him seriously because his actions and policies are completely at odds with what he says. There's been no serious effort to boost our wind/solar energy production as he's consistently promised, and now he jags off into this new nuclear direction that will only serve to open old wounds and further alienate the people who voted for him. Of course it will make a lot of money for his banker buddies and GE. He's turned out to be a creature of Wall Street's investment banks and very little else. We get hot air while they get cold cash. The real reason for the uncertainty plaguing our economy is that no one believes a word that he says. What's the hidden agenda and what does he really mean - those are the questions on peoples minds when they hear him give yet another lofty speech of grand vision and noble goals. It's all for public consumption - the real agenda is driven by Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley. Very disappointing, disillusioning and disheartening - but still true. He knows how to throw a fight better than any politician I've ever seen.

DMBicksler Author Profile Page :

No serious future energy policy discussion can ignore cogeneration as a way to save fuel, pollution, and money, by using both the electricity and the 2.5 times as much heat that is now just dumped into the atmosphere as "waste heat." All existing power plants should have their "cooling towers" removed and a system to put the heat into space and water heating, greenhouses, and even warming the soil for longer farming seasons put in place. There is enough "waste heat" in existing electrical power plants for 30-50% of Americans to have their homes and busineses heated for "free." Further, homes and businesses should be encouraged and allowed to become energy producers that feed into the national grid. A 10KW power plant running 24/7 for a year can make $9636 at 11 cents per kw/hr, and allow the home/business to use the 85,000 BTU/hour "waste heat" made. This can be done using clean natural gas, or even diesel fuel with catalytic cleaners.

tm13 Author Profile Page :

Of course we need health care reform. The point is that we didn't get any after nearly a year wasted on the effort. Financial reform was the hot issue when Obama took office - we haven't gotten that either. Your assertions of ignorance are themselves ignorant as are your bogus statistics - pulled right out of your derriere.

tm13 Author Profile Page :

I can't let that magnificent nuclear power lobbyist's assertions of 8 deaths from nuclear accidents go unchallenged. The WHO attributed 56 deaths directly to the Chernobyl incident alone. Estimates of over a quarter million cancer cases and associated early deaths. He quotes the World Nuclear Association so assume the lie is intended to be a worldwide statistic. The obvious point is potential deaths from a nuclear incident anyway - so it's a outright lie wrapped in misleading context of lies.

magnifco1000 Author Profile Page :

Just like healthcare (e.g., American healthcare is twice as expensive as in Europe, sucking trillions out of the American economy), President Obama is once again dealing with an uneducated and foolish American electorate, but now on nuclear power. Is the quality of our public schools so bad that average Americans cannot even understand basic economics? One wind farm, the size of the District of Columbia, will not even generate what a small nuclear power plant generates. That's just facts. You could cover the state of Arizona and still not get what two or three nuclear power plants would generate in electricity. It is that simple. Why cannot Americans get it?

tm13 Author Profile Page :

Nuclear power and Yucca Mt/waste disposal is just another can of worms like health care. I have no idea why President Obama has chosen to pursue nuclear energy now when we should be putting Americans to work building out our wind and solar infrastructure that will produce more power in any given time frame over new nuclear plants. Whatever Obama is he's certainly not an agent of change. He seems to be seeking out the most divisive issues and putting them on the front burner. He's even stopped talking about Smart Grid and the DOE has taken the project in house and used it as a conduit for taxpayer dollars into the coffers of SAIC and its army of Washington lobbyists. They don't have a product, the outline of a product or even a clearly identified objective. Why isn't NASA offering its wind tunnels and engineering support to turbine manufacturers? The president seems more interested in tilting at wind mills than building wind turbines. We should never elect another president from the senate, it's been crippling to have both Obama and Biden in the executive branch with both acting as though they're still senators. Pick a program - any program - HS rail, wind and solar - whatever - and just do it. How did this toxic nuclear issue float to the fore? There has been no technological development. Yucca Mt. is still a closed. Hook him up to a wind turbine - problem solved.

magnifco1000 Author Profile Page :

The World Nuclear Association provides a comparison of deaths due to accidents among different forms of energy production. In their comparison, deaths per TW-yr of electricity produced from 1970 to 1992 are quoted as 885 for hydropower, 342 for coal, 85 for natural gas, and 8 for nuclear.

logan303 Author Profile Page :

Let's just sit on our hands and do nothing. No nuclear; it's expensive. No wind turbines; they spoil our view and may harm birds. No solar; they're ugly, and they take up too much space in open vista.

We can always start burning our furniture to keep warm and have a little light to read by at the end of the day. Meanwhile, China, India, Russia, and most of Europe pursue all sources of energy production.

edbyronadams Author Profile Page :

Nuclear power is an essential part of any plan to reduce ghg emissions. They run best at tonic levels of electrical output while renewables fluctuate with the weather. Without that tonic backbone of supply, wind and solar cannot be made a large viable source of electrical generation.

judyterry Author Profile Page :

Nuclear plants are expensive to build,run and decommission and store its waste for thousands of years and thats the minimal effects providing their is no accident in the mean time

judyterry Author Profile Page :

Nuclear plants are expensive to build,run and decommission and store its waste for thousands of years and thats the minimal effects providing their is no accident in the mean time

judyterry Author Profile Page :

Nuclear plants are expensive to build,expensive to run,and expensive to decommision and store its nuclear waste for thousands of years and even more expensive if an accident occurs if things go wrong.

DGSPAMMAIL Author Profile Page :

We need to build some nuclear power plants to compliment our energy needs until we discover a good green energy. The ultimate energy would rely on gravity, not wind or power, as it is the only energy that is constant.

tm13 Author Profile Page :

The comment about snails and insects was grimly amusing. Yucca Mt. is built already - it's just that the PEOPLE of Nevada don't want this toxic waste in their state. Not then, now or ever. How have people arrived at the conclusion that wind and solar can't provide the power we need? Lick their finger and stick it in the air? We can do this - if we don't other countries will and we'll wind up looking like fools. We need to uncrook the hind leg of our politicians and force them do the right thing. Americans can unite on this. We're almost unique in that we have so much public land and idle manufacturing capacity to enable us to move very quickly. To hell with Wall Street - we don't need them. If Eric Holder was doing his job a good number of them would once again be close neighbors with Bernie Madoff. They used the Enron Loophole to collect their bet against their own "Collaterized Debt Obligations" (financial IED's) in the form of Credit Default Swap arrangements with AIG. That was in the summer of 2008 when they drove petroleum prices through the roof. It's all public knowledge at this point. So now we own AIG - the house of pubic debt. To try to paint the wind and solar power movement as a bunch of loonies concerned about snails and insects is the reverse of the truth - as most things are today. Put your finger to the wind again.

tm13 Author Profile Page :

Senator Reid is in the senate because of Yucca Mt. If you think the people of Florida are going to risk their beaches and tourist income so that the rest of the country can burn midnight oil you're mistaken.

tm13 Author Profile Page :

I shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that President Obama doesn't want to expose his Wall Street banker buddies to anything even remotely resembling a risk - just cold hard cash - preferably of the taxpayer variety. It's what government is all about these days. He's already on record as stating that he "doesn't begrudge banker's their bonuses" (even if they did perpetrate the economic meltdown and the bonuses are right out of taxpayer's pockets) and "if I want to know anything about economics I just call Jamie" (Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan). Kind of puts the lie to all his talk about American innovation. The only innovation he supports are of the fat cat banker financial taxpayer ripoff scheme variety.

alance Author Profile Page :

Once Senator Reid is kicked out of the US Senate in November, we can use Yucca Mountain in Nevada for nuke waste. He misused his political power to prevent using Yucca Mountain.

We also need to speed the approval process for environmental impact studies, so a snail or insect can't delay approval for 10+ years. This is why investors refuse to bankroll nuke plants. The regulatory process authorized by Congress can take forever. We are being over-regulated to death.

For 10 years, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida has been fighting oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida. Is it any wonder we are sending a large portion of our energy dollars overseas to the Middle East? Many of our politicians are enemies of the American people.

tm13 Author Profile Page :

If it's not the nuclear lobby it's the coal lobby. Are there any non-lobbyist that read this newspaper? Anything but the right thing.

dwyerj1 Author Profile Page :

Coal ash is terrible, especially the heavy metals it contains. Disposing of it properly needs to be a priority. However, its horrors are not nearly like those of the more invisible radioactive isotopes accumulated from nuclear power plants. Nuclear is not green energy. Do not allow your movement to become an excuse for pro-nuclearity. At least we can see and smell the horrors of coal ash. Radioactivity is invisible, odorless, intangible and tasteless--but deadly for millions of years, far beyond the power of political entities to isolate from the environment.

Obama in the coming week will announce the loan guarantee to build the nuclear power plant, 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 that administration officials hope will draw Republican support.

“Wall Street financiers will not loan electric companies money to build new nuclear plants which cost $12 billion and up, unless Uncle Sam guarantees one hundred percent of the loan,” writes Mr. Ralph Nader.

“Strange, if these nuclear power plants are so efficient, so safe, why can't they be built with unguaranteed private risk capital?

dwyerj1 Author Profile Page :

“Wall Street financiers will not loan electric companies money to build new nuclear plants which cost $12 billion and up, unless Uncle Sam guarantees one hundred percent of the loan,” writes Mr. Ralph Nader.

“Strange, if these nuclear power plants are so efficient, so safe, why can't they be built with unguaranteed private risk capital? The answer to this question came from testimony by Amory B. Lovins, chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, in March 2008 before the [House of Representatives of the U.S.] Select Committee on Energy Independence ( His thesis: "expanding nuclear power would reduce and retard climate protection and energy security...but can't survive free-market capitalism."

Coal ash is terrible, especially the heavy metals it contains. Disposing of it properly needs to be a priority. However, its horrors are not nearly like those of the more invisible radioactive isotopes accumulated from nuclear power plants.

Nuclear is not green energy. Do not allow the green movement to become an excuse for pro-nuclearity.

At least we can see and smell the horrors of coal ash. Radioactivity is invisible, odorless, intangible and tasteless--but deadly for millions of years, far beyond the power of political entities to isolate from the environment.

tm13 Author Profile Page :

Does TMI ring a bell at all? With a Smart Grid network of wind farms on federal land across the country we'd have a constant source of power and plenty of it. These are tired old arguments. One incident at a nuclear plant could take thousands of lives and poison the environment for years to come. We own the resource and we own the land. Why not put money into the Treasury instead of taking it out to pay GE or some other big corporation/utility that go own to gouge rate payers into perpetuity. The sun shines in the daytime when demand for power is highest - isn't that convenient. I don't know what gives with Americans today. Call it cell phone damage. As a nation we almost deserve to be jobless - it's the "yes we can't" generation. Turn on your TV lest you miss an important corporate advertisement.

magnifco1000 Author Profile Page :

Wind and solar are simply not capable of meeting the energy needs of the USA for at least several more decades. They work only contingent on environmental circumstances, so if the sun isn't shining or the wind not blowing, it's a problem. Furthermore, without more nuclear plants,
more coal and oil fired plants will be built, it's that simple.Yes, nuclear waste is a problem, but several centralized sites could handle it all. And, in the future, advances reprocessing technology may even
recycle much of it. As for safety, nuclear power has been around a long time and the USA uses exacting safety standards, so that's not a problem. The problem is by not understanding nuclear power, opponents are only following a course that leads to more pollution and greenhouse gasses.

jv26 Author Profile Page :

Until you have read these books, you probably don't adequately understand the risks involved in commercial nuclear power, and the suffficiency of the alternatives of solar, wind and geothermal, any one of which could supply all of U.S. energy needs if distribution networks were installed:
Insurmountable Risks, by Brice Smith; Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer, by Helen Caldicott; and Carbon-Free And Nuclear-Free, by Arjun Makhijani.
That goes for you, dear reader, and for Pres. Obama. Massive subsidies for nuclear power, going back to the 1950s, and miniscule subsidies for the alternatives have created a grotesquely-unlevel playing field.

tm13 Author Profile Page :

Who's the idiot here? Didn't I just point out that we've wasted billions on Yucca Mt. You call that cheap. What about the slag heaps from mining uranium - is that cheap. Ask the people in Ukraine about how "cheap" nuclear power is. You have nothing to say about the practicality of wind energy or an NWPA. If they build a new nuclear plant or waste disposal site I hope it's in your backyard. What would you say then cowboy?

kathymac1 Author Profile Page :

God you people are idiots. Nukes are cheapest, cleanest and most efficient method of energy. France almost uses it exclusively, of course it could just be they are better qualified than Americans to use Nuclear power

Although we do have a number of nuclear subs all over the world. These subs contain mini nuclear power plants and move through the ocean, been this way for 30 years, so we must know a little about them

tm13 Author Profile Page :

We've wasted billions already on Yucca Mtn in NV. Did I miss something and this is all resolved now? I've written to my congressional delegation, President, VP, DOE, and DOI advocating for the establishment of a National Wind Power Authority modeled after FDR's TVA - a successful program still in operation today making money for the federal government. The government owns vast tracts of land across the country and has an obligation to act as a responsible steward for the land and its resource - in the case wind energy. We could create half or more of our electrical power from such a project and by buying turbines from American businesses establish ourselves as a world leader in field of green technology. An NWPA would pay for itself over time while creating thousands of jobs almost immediately. The problem is I'm just a citizen and easy to ignore. The nuclear energy has a powerful lobby that can line the pockets of members of congress. I've never gotten a single response from anyone in government - after all my efforts to communicate this very practical concept. Nuclear is not the way to go. Wind and solar are. A case could be made that they have a custodial obligation to the American public who are the real owners of federal lands - but they'd rather put incur further public debt than establish a program that would crate a new source of revenue and help us to achieve the goals that were "talked about" in Copenhagen.

misterbumbles Author Profile Page :

Any way of converting solar to charge batteries in each home and invert to AC meet the use requirements of a single residence?

mmad2 Author Profile Page :

We can not trust American business to run a nuclear power plant. The greed factor is too high. Look at all the places the risked the lifes of their employees just so they could make a profit. Look at the plant in Connecticut that just blew up because people were working 80+ hours a week. Corporate greed in this country is incredible. When it is profits at all cost we can not rick them running a nuclear power plant.

MikeQ2 Author Profile Page :

If you cannot safely dispose of nuclear waste, and you cannot, then the nuclear plant must be off the table. Costantly transporting nuclear waste to a central site defeats the very objective you are trying to achieve, if it was not so serious it would be a great comedy routine. Just an obvious contradiction.

votingrevolution Author Profile Page :

If we can get out from under the oil tyrants it will give America much needed leverage and take the blackmailing power away from the armpits of the world.use everything to make the bridge to safe,clean alternative energies.We also need to take back the power from these unrealistic(new age) environmentalists!!!!!

mihalovitch Author Profile Page :

Aside from the known inefficincies of nuclear power generation - as Barry Commoner once said, ..."it's a dumb way to boil water...," - we really don't need another dozen or so nuclear installations, with their poisonous waste deposits and pools, providing ample opportunities for saboteurs and terrorists to rig mega IEDs all around the country. It's the SECURITY, Stupid, along with economics.

mihalovitch Author Profile Page :

Aside from the inefficiencies of Nuclear
Power and the net energy deficits of existing plants, we really don't need a dozen or more nuclear power installations around the country providing terrorists and saboteurs with ample opportunity to rig mega IEDs. It's the SECURITY, Stupid, along with the negative economics.

work2gather Author Profile Page :

Just because Europe makes nuclear plants doesn't mean we need to. Until we create a productive way to use/dispose of the waste, it is a disaster in the making. As terrorism continues to rise, nuclear plants will become a target. The cleanest and most useful forms of energy are solar and wind, with water close behind. They can be improved like the computer, storage options increased, and placed all over the world in various combinations. I would like to see Habitat for Humanity, and other global housing organizations, create a simple solar house that will privide enough electricity for lights, a computer, and appliances. That would really change the world!

bkshane Author Profile Page :

I love the idea, but am nervous about the end results - cost, accidents to name a few. At this moment, I wish we all could just conserve.

My neighborhood conserves, but upon meeting someone from a different part of town, I found she consistently keeps her heat set at 80 degrees! Well, she said, I have young children. Oh dear. Not everyone is on the same page I suppose. In this case, her family is simply in a culture from a part of the world closer to the equator so this felt normal to her. The planet is being shaken up at so many levels :)

DwightCollins Author Profile Page :

nuclear plants are the way to go...
they now need to have a program to help switch home heating from heating oil to electricity...
not only will that create jobs but having one energy source for heating simplifies what resources are required...

12thgenamerican Author Profile Page :

obama is a liar. there will be no drilling ,no nukes, no coal and no jobs. not till we vote these nit-wits out. and keep them out.

calmaise Author Profile Page :

Nuclear power is the only carbon-neutral, reliable power generation that we have. It will aways produce power, even whent he wind don't blow and the sun don't shine. To kick start the process, we need to standardize on one Nuclear planet design across the board. Second we need to go ahead with the Yucca Mountain site. The president needs to stop trying to make Harry Reid happy. Currently nuclear waste sits in holding ponds across the country. American tax payers have spent Billions and developing Yucca Mountain for long term storage of nuclear waste. As for Chernobyl, that design would never be approved in the US. Russian workmanship is not up to US standards. The nuclear industry in America is hignly regulated, what other industry would have to file a report of a leak of a cup of coolant. Americans experience more radiation exposure from flying whan living next to a nuclear power plant. So let's stop the fear mongering, to deal with facts and science.

ctenwith Author Profile Page :

Nukes take forever--and a day--to build, are always over--WAY over--budget, produce horrific toxic waste nobody knows what to do with, create very few jobs, function for maybe 30 years, and then present the intractable question: what do you do with a defunct nuclear power plant? Nobody knows. The only beneficiary is the builder/operator quasi-public power monopoly. Of course, all of this becomes moot if there's another Chernobyl. But nobody likes to talk about THAT.

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