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Excerpt: "The Department of Energy is about to guarantee $8.3 Billion of loans to the Southern Company and its partners to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia. ... How bad an investment is this nuclear loan guarantee?"

Congressman Dennis Kucinich decries 'Bet the Farm' loan guarantees for nuclear reactors. (photo: Mark Wilson Getty Images)
Congressman Dennis Kucinich decries 'Bet the Farm' loan guarantees for nuclear reactors. (photo: Mark Wilson Getty Images)

The Folly of Nuclear "Bet-the-Farm" Loan Guarantees

By Dennis Kucinich, Beyond Nuclear

30 April 12


he Department of Energy is about to guarantee $8.3 Billion of loans to the Southern Company and its partners to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia. That is 15 times the size of the loan guarantee to Solyndra, the solar energy company that failed last year.

How bad an investment is this nuclear loan guarantee?

Nuclear reactors are so bad an investment that Wall Street won't touch them. Moody's has called them "bet-the-farm-investments." Moody's has downgraded the financial ratings of the utilities that are planning to build them. Citibank says that "Three of the risks faced by developers - Construction, Power Price, and Operational - are so large and variable that individually they could each bring even the largest utility company to its knees financially."

Even nuclear industry executives call new reactors "a large speculation" and say that they "are not economic" because of low gas prices, excess generating capacity and low growth in demand. Two of these executives have admitted that "We can't make the numbers work." The Economist magazine declared in its March 10th issue that nuclear power is "the dream that failed"--the plants are too costly and uncompetitive with alternatives.

Wind, solar and energy efficiency are all better investments, and their costs have been falling for years. So, why are we wasting $8.3 billion on corporate welfare to an industry that, for five continuous decades, has not been able to operate without large government subsidies? your social media marketing partner


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+19 # paulrevere 2012-04-30 10:14
Once more, in a long chain of revelations of the dastardly, deadly and dumb, Dennis Kucinich comes through!

Reminds me of my growing list of if not now then next time 3rd party potentials, Kucinich, Feingold, Stein, Sanders, Anderson, Grayson, Warren, S.Brown, W.Clark and a list to note:
+13 # readerz 2012-04-30 13:44
We love Dennis in Ohio, but he was gerrymandered out of his seat by the Repos.

President Obama should make him Secretary of Anything! Put him in the Cabinet, where he will put his extensive expertise to work! He kept the steel mill in Cleveland. He cleaned up the water. He has spoken truth for decades, and put truth into action. He knows so much about jobs, the environment, complex businesses and economics; but put him anywhere and he works the hardest, takes the least time off, and really takes seriously the job of public servant. And he is one of the few who is not corrupt. At all. He is not against business; he worked to keep the steel business open and working, not only for the lower scale jobs, but the American industry itself. Have I left anything out? Yes, plenty; the investigation of war profiteering, crimes in the Bush administration, etc.; he is the conscience of America. If he speaks, I always listen, because he never says something without careful consideration.
+4 # SOF 2012-05-01 02:31
Agree. He's been consistent and brave. A real loss for our Democracy. I hope he runs again. Anywhere. We need him.
+1 # RLF 2012-05-01 05:12
Obama??? Put a real Liberal anywhere??? You must be joking!
0 # Innocent Victim 2012-04-30 19:51
None of your heroes, including Rep. Kuncinich, has the gumption to challenge the Democratic Party. They all look towards a future Democratic Party nomination for something, representative, senator, a governorship, or an appointment to an executive branch office, an agency chief, adviser, something! None is willing to leave the Party to join with others in forming a third party.
0 # ER444 2012-05-01 14:26
AMEN !!!!! Exactly my list.
+8 # PGreen 2012-04-30 10:19
I sense that this question is almost rhetorical, but I'll answer it anyway: Because energy companies invested in nuclear have the clout to demand it of our leadership through massive lobbying efforts. Kucinich explains the economics pretty well here, and there is little for me to add.
But I will say that it is likely that industries prefer nuclear over wind, solar, geothermal because the former is highly centralized, capital intensive, and hence produces a revenue stream that the investors like. Solar and wind are more labor intensive (lots of installation jobs, etc.-- wages to pay to local contractors) and decentralized-- many little companies could get into the act. Also a smaller revue stream, as it is harder to charge someone for sunlight. In this instance, it is likely that capitalism is in the way of appropriate technology.
+5 # paulrevere 2012-04-30 10:56
So here we are again...discuss ing whether the evil radiation genie should be released upon the US ONE MORE TIME...and paid for out of the coffers of WETHEPEOPLE, as in socialized investment/risk and all the profits given to private investors.


I guess all those big time Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago, Stanford MBA's remain in intellectual limbo...conside ring the panoply of pitfalls, greedholes, pollutionpits and ruined economies we witness world wide...yawn, doing the same thing over and over etc.
+1 # SOF 2012-05-01 02:46
Are you kidding or being sarcastic or cynical? Or clueless about what has happened with Fukushima? We won't be shown the gruesome details or begin to see worldwide effects for year or decades -that's how radiation poisoning works. 3 Mile Island disaster effects were never reported in the media. (sure hope you don't have or plan on having kids with your yawning attitude.)
It has always been this way. The U.S. pays for any accidents (disasters), and subsidizes the industry too! -a way for someone to profit from nuclear weapons' by-product. The creation of plutonium was a very bad move for US. Meanwhile I lived in a passive solar house that needed only a small morning fire while the sun rose over snow and -20 degrees. Built it 25 years ago, still works great.
+7 # readerz 2012-04-30 13:52
Nuclear industry wants power OVER everybody else and wants to keep it, and they constantly hide serious problems. Solar represents people "off the grid," not paying monthly bills. Of course, "off the grid" still means buying equipment and making repairs, but that would employ many many people. Nuclear, coal, and natural gas are dangerous for our health; there is nowhere to hide from nuclear waste, coal slag waste that also contains uranium, arsenic and mercury, or fracking pollution.
0 # RLF 2012-05-01 05:14
$3.3 billion to build...33 billion to clean up...your electrical cost go up 100 times...good for those that pay for Obama's re election campaign!
+13 # tedrey 2012-04-30 10:39
The case that Kucinich makes is sufficient in itself. The other case which could be made on the grounds of the potential danger to lives and property, (dangers for which the Southern Company wants to be absolved from responsibilty ahead of time!!) is also suffient in itself. Together they are overwhelmingly against allowing this idiocy to proceed.
+12 # Bodiotoo 2012-04-30 11:30
A voice of wonder he isn't taken seriously. Shame on America.
+8 # carolsj 2012-04-30 11:49
It all goes back to money and corruption. Imagine what 8.3 mil could do with clean energy. The corruption is becoming so obvious that I'm surprised the citizens aren't storming the gates with torches & pitchforks. That's allegorical, of course, but how long are we going to put up with it?
+11 # noitall 2012-04-30 12:00
The question to the country is: Why is Kucinich and a couple others the only ones in leadership roles in this country that say anything that means anything to the current problems, the economy, the future, and are written off by the media (and therefore the voters) as being too radical. Today's reality is pretty radical if you haven't noticed. The bacon is burning.
+10 # universlman 2012-04-30 12:03
Nuclear once was sold to us as the "safest" and "cheapest" form of power generation. The Fukushima nuclear disaster has changed all that forever. This cleanup is still "off the chart." Nuclear plants are now more than ever high risk ventures requiring massive federal guarantees.

Looking back at the BP spill in the Gulf there is a clear pattern. A decision by the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) gave BP's lease at Deepwater Horizon a "categorical exclusion" from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on April 6, 2009. I believe this failure to follow existing regulation is the primary reason behind the BP disaster in the Gulf.

We now have to listen to the insane screaming from the right to permit the Keystone Oil Pipeline regardless of ANY environmental review. The government is also blocking any logical long-term energy policy. They want us to believe that this will help the national economy. This could instead become the most expensive legacy of our relentless swing to the right and away from common sense.

Ignoring the environmental effects of our flawed and archaic energy policy may be our biggest misjudgement to date.
+5 # readerz 2012-04-30 14:01
Look up Fukushima on Reader Supported News. A recent article said the spent fuel rods sitting in a tank 100 ft. in the air, could create a disaster 85 times worse than Chernobyl. All countries must help clean it up, because if those fuel rods are not cooled because of a crack in that tank, goodbye Pacific, goodbye America, goodbye rest of world.

America does not know enough about earthquakes: a minor earthquake in Virginia created a lot of damage in Washington D.C., but apparently not enough for them to wake up to dangers. The last time the New Madrid fault shifted at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, the earthquake caused chimneys to fall in Washington D.C. and also Boston, Mass. When it happens again, several cities will be rubble, along with all the nuclear power plants in the area.
+4 # paddyrican 2012-04-30 12:30
Dennis: Here is something to really get NUCLEAR about. Report to the American people about the $16 TRILLION dispursed by the Federal Reserve to U.S.&foreign banks between 2007&2010 as disclosed in the FIRST EVER audit of that institution by the GAO, which was released in July,2011!!
+4 # oakes721 2012-04-30 13:16
"The Dream that failed" is a Nightmare that will live on for centuries. Wall Street has learned to profit from failure. As long as we allow them to invest in and feed on failure, that's what's going to grow.
Incorporation seems to be a form of failure ~ as it becomes more and more unaccountable and less responsible. A responsible individual or a nation is successful.
Having been involved in work to insist on better shipment & storage of "Low Level Radioactive Waste" (there is no known 'safe' level of exposure to radioactivity) I've concluded that the all of the government 'studies', like the military-indust rial complex, are simply designed to postpone and prolong the conflict, dividing and subdividing the inevitable and obvious truth ~ to maximize profits.
+5 # WestWinds 2012-04-30 14:37
I love Dennis Kucinich; always have. Every time he speaks, he makes good common sense.
I hope one day we will be lucky enough to have him for our president.

Every time I hear about nuclear energy and building nuclear reactors I get sick. Why are we being so stupid? Have we learned nothing from Fukushima, Chernobyl and Indian Point???

People, we've GOT to get these industrialists out of our government and back into Pandora's Box before they kill us all!!!

Vote Progressive Democrat and accept nothing less; no DemoRats and no DINO's.
The hour is growing late and we are on the brink of extincting if these kooks on Wall Street and the Big Box Industries are allowed to continue with their death march to one disaster after another.
0 # Innocent Victim 2012-05-01 08:40
Dennis was a menace when he and Grayson voted for the Affordable Care Act, in violation of their pledges.
+3 # Alice W 2012-04-30 15:31
Taxpayers pay for nuclear reactors, and they insure them against 'accident'. But the reactors are owned and operated by private companies. Just what is the benefit to us taxpayers? Oh, that's right, lower rates :)

W H A T A B O U T T H E W A S T E ?
+3 # beautyseer 2012-04-30 20:23
Nuclear power plants have ALREADY proven themselves to be bad investments for the American taxpayer. Many of the plants buiilt in the 1970s were constrructed with financing provided through federal loans to rural electric cooperatives. The power proved to be horrendously expensive, and the small utilities found their efforts to raise rates just sent their customers to alternative energy like propane for home heating.They defaulted on many of those loans, costing the taxpayers who guaranteed them MANY MILLIONS of dollars. It's time to remember the past and refuse to make its mistakes AGAIN!
0 # indian weaver 2012-05-01 06:05
Kucinich is one of the all time great people in or from our government trying to help. But very few of these honest uncorrupted folks exist, not enough. I suggested to him that he just walk out of the congress while still in office to make his biggest impact ever, instead of being voted out. I know that every one of us on this page is on The List by now. What happens when their List is 30 million of us, The People? It's gonna get ugly, sorry to say. No body in power is listening, they are all running for the exits with as much of our stolen loot as they can carry. At some point, they'll have to look back because we're coming for them.
0 # Innocent Victim 2012-05-01 08:38
Remember, when you think about who is independent, progressive and reliable as opposed to who is simply a loyal Democrat when the chips are down:

Dennis Kucinich and Alan Grayson voted, contrary to their signed pledges, in support of the Affordable Care Act, its lack of a public option notwithstanding.

Then Rep. Kucinich, when asked by Amy Goodman in interview him jointly with Ralph Nader, why he supported the Act, said: I did not want to see the Obama presidency undermined (words to that effect). That was also Grayson's reason for violating his own word.

What they saw in the presidency of Barack Obama that was worth saving, I cannot imagine! They probably saw their positive vote as an absolute requirement on them as Democrats, one they could not escape without being cast out of the Party. Ultimately, their betrayal did not help them. They are now out of the House. They could just as well have preserved their integrity but did not.

Why did they betray progressives? They still look to the Party, to the administration, for appointments or support as possible candidates again. They are unprincipled when principles count.
0 # MidwestTom 2012-05-01 08:40
I know that this is not popular, nuclear does not make sense, but neither do wind turbines. Stop the 100% government support and construction will come to a complete halt. Large solar projects are also a boondoggle, some of the largest have gone bankrupt, and the government continues to guarantee funding for additional ones. The only electrical generation facilities that can be privately funded burn natural gas and coal. Here in the midwest at Sparta Illinois, and Edwardsport Indiana private utilities are building the largest single stack power plants in the country bot to be powered by coal; and built without government guarantees. There currently is no clean energy production, other than hydroelectric, that can stand on it's own feet without government support.

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