The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Nick Berning, 202-222-0748

New Friends of the Earth Ad Ties Nuclear Loan Guarantees to Bush Bailout

Loan guarantees sought by nuclear industry for reactor construction amount to ‘preemptive bailout,’ with expected default rate of 50 percent or higher


A new ad from
Friends of the Earth accuses nuclear industry lobbyists of seeking a "preemptive
bailout" from Congress in the form of risky, taxpayer-backed loan guarantees
from Congress.

"First the government bails out
the banks, now all of Wall Street, at a cost of over 1 trillion dollars.
So why would taxpayers ever risk billions to build nuclear power plants?" the ad
asks. "With cheaper, safer alternatives, why is Congress even considering
a preemptive bailout for nuclear power?"

Nuclear industry executives admit
that nuclear power is so financially risky that federal loan guarantees are the only way new
plants will get built. For example, Michael J. Wallace, the co-chief
executive of UniStar Nuclear, told
the New York Times
last year
that "without loan guarantees we will not build nuclear power plants."
Unfortunately, the Congressional Research Service
such guarantees could leave taxpayers with "potentially
large losses." The Congressional Budget
Office estimates
that the risk of default on a nuclear loan
guarantee is "very high-well above 50 percent."

"The fact that we're already
looking at a trillion-dollar bailout for the financial services industry ought
to take an additional bailout for the nuclear industry off the table," Friends
of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder said. "There are cleaner, safer,
more affordable ways to address the energy crisis. A multibillion-dollar preemptive bailout
for the nuclear industry in the form of risky loan guarantees is not the

Friends of the Earth is
encouraging Americans who don't want billions of their tax dollars to be spent
bailing out the nuclear industry to join our campaign at

The ad can be viewed at:

Friends of the Earth fights for a more healthy and just world. Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.

(202) 783-7400