Tell Congress: No Way



February 15, 2011

Dear Friends,

Yesterday, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2012 budget and I’m afraid the overriding message is: we’ve got to get to work!

Even while slashing funds for heating assistance for the poor and cleaning up the Great Lakes, the President’s budget–like last year–proposes to triple the loan "guarantee" program for new nuclear reactor construction. That would mean another $36 Billion in loan "guarantees" for nuclear utilities to buy reactors from wealthy foreign companies like Areva and Toshiba, while the poor shiver through the winter.

Tell Congress: NO WAY!

In the fiscal fantasy world of the federal budget, it’s important to note that, in budget terms, $36 Billion in loan "guarantees" shows up as only $360 million in actual spending. But $360 million is still a big chunk of change, and would buy an awful lot of heat for an awful lot of people.

And in the real world, those "guarantees" are actually taxpayer loans. The money leaves the federal treasury and only comes back if the project succeeds. During the first go-round of nuclear construction, fewer than half of the reactors proposed were actually ever built and generated income–and that’s when the utilities had to pay for reactors without government help. There is no reason to believe things will work out any better for the industry this time around–especially if we taxpayers are liable for the bill.

Not only does the Administration want to increase nuclear construction loans, it also is proposing some $500 million over five years to develop new "small modular reactors." But really, when we’re cutting funding to clean the Great Lakes, why should we be adding funding for new polluting power plants? And if these reactors are economically viable (hint: they’re not), why shouldn’t the companies involved develop them with their own money?

Of course, the Republicans–especially their Tea party wing–want to cut even more from the federal budget than President Obama. But will they be willing to stand up to the nuclear industry and cut this proposal?

President Obama made the same proposal to triple the nuclear loan program last year. And he didn’t get a single dime. Your actions combined with the dedicated work of the small group of people working on this issue in Washington to stop the increases completely.

Now we’ve got to do it again. Write your Congressmembers here and tell them no money for nuclear loans, no money for new reactors–small, large, or in-between! We can’t afford them and we don’t want them. When we all raise our voices, we are extremely loud. And we need each of you to raise your voice now.

We will keep you informed about the progress of these proposals in the weeks and months to come.

Finally, if you haven’t yet signed the petition to the Prime Minister of Japan to stop their government’s funding of proposed new reactors in Texas, please do so now here. Organizations can sign on by sending their info to us at nirsnet(at)

Thanks for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

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