New Nuclear Subsidies Are a Terrible Idea

Fiscal conservatives and clean energy advocates agree that loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors are a waste of taxpayer money. Frontier Group research contributes to an opinion editorial by Environment America's Anna Aurilio in the Washington Times.

In today’s Washington Times, Anna Aurilio (the director of Environment America’s Washington D.C. office), points out an interesting confluence of interests opposing President Obama’s proposal to extend $54 billion in loan guaranteesto the nuclear industry. The Heritage Foundation and the National Taxpayers Union are concerned about the program turning into a potentially multi-billion dollar boondoggle. As outlined in our report Generating Failure, we believe that investing in new nuclear reactors will actually set us back in the race to curb global warming — diverting needed investment away from cheaper and faster solutions like energy efficiency and wind and solar power.

Four fiscally conservative organizations have written President Obama, noting that “[w]ith hundreds of billions in bailouts already on the shoulders of U.S. taxpayers, the country cannot afford to move forward with a program that could easily become the black hole for hundreds of billions more.”

Aurilio concludes that while fiscal conservatives may not see eye to eye with clean energy advocates about how to solve global warming, “we do agree that we cannot afford massive new subsidies for nuclear power plants. We don’t need them.”

For more in-depth discussion on the politics around nuclear power and our argument that the nuclear industry simply cant build new reactors fast enough or cheaply enough to make a difference in the fight against global warming, see this article in Politicoour report, and this blog post by Dan Weiss at the Center for American Progress.