For Immediate Release
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
WASHINGTON - 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
"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
says 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
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Friends of the Earth-U.S. (www.foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 70 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.