Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader Calls President Barack Obama’s Loan Guarantee for Nuclear Power Plants Monumental Mistake

hat tip:

President Obama’s support of loan guarantees for the construction of new nuclear power plants is a monumental mistake. It is a decision that is bad for consumers and taxpayers, and it is wrong-headed from an environmental and national security perspective.

Providing $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to help the Southern Company build two reactors in Georgia is the last thing the Obama Administration should be doing. There is no place for new nuclear power plants in our country’s energy future.

It is deplorable that President Obama has called for more so-called “safe, clean nuclear power plants.” Adding insult to injury, he requested from Congress another $54 billion in taxpayer loan guarantees on top of the $18 billion previously approved under Bush. Wall Street financiers will not loan electric companies money to build new nuclear plants, which can cost $12 billion and up, unless Uncle Sam guarantees the loans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that nuclear companies will default on loans for new reactors 50 percent of the time:

“CBO considers the risk of default on such a loan guarantee to be very high—well above 50 percent. The key factor accounting for this risk is that we expect that the plant would be uneconomic to operate because of its high construction costs, relative to other electricity generation sources.”

Following the Three Mile Island near-melt down, the many accidents, spills and shutdowns at other plants, and the Chernobyl disaster in what is now Ukraine, the electric utility bosses found Wall Street unwilling to invest in nuclear power and public opposition to nuclear power overwhelming.

Nuclear power is financially risky and regularly bogged down with delays and cost over-runs. Moreover, there are too many spent fuel rods filling pools at nuclear power plants because no permanent storage sites for deadly radioactive wastes have been certified. Finally, the risks of sabotage and nuclear proliferation, which have become prominent national security concerns in the post-9/11 era, are significant.

President Obama should be pursuing energy policies that promote safe, domestic, renewable sources of energy and proven energy conservation strategies to meet our nation’s energy demands, not costly, risky, dirty nuclear power.


  1. morphoyle

    February 24, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    The biggest reason not to loan the money is because we don’t actually have it! I guess they figure that we have created so much fake currency at this point, what’s a few billion more?

    I do find it a little unsettling that Ralph Nader is being quoted, however. Over the past 50 years, he has been one of the BIGGEST proponents of the Nanny State that we are becoming.

  2. aga

    April 3, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Name one thing thats wrong with nuclear powerplants that other energy sources dont have. “oh its unclean” so is coal. “oh its radioactive” after the rods are used up they bury them miles under the ground or into a cave. its clean, we dont have to worry about running short on supplies because they use very little. the only downturn to nuclear powerplants is that they meltdown, but very rarly. there has been two or three meltdowns all in other countries with little to no worry about worker and citizen safty.

  3. sherry

    April 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    One thing? Oh that’s tough to narrow down, but first, how about government subsidies. If it weren’t for nuclear power being heavily subsidized, the costs would be too exorbitant to be competitive. Oh, and ever heard of Chernobyl? Fukushima? Three mile island? These are–by definition–not ‘isolated incidents.’ Little to no worry? Wasn’t Three mile island in Pennsylvania, and wasn’t that part of the original 13 colonies?

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