GOP: Obama "Anti-Nuclear"
Barack Obama on Tuesday told reporters that his recent embrace of nuclear power is part of an effort to adopt some Republican ideas on energy, noting that he remains an "eternal optimist" about bipartisanship. But Obama's attempt to woo Republicans with nuclear power has met predictably bad reviews from the Party of No, which maintains that this is "an anti-nuclear administration." (Sarah Palin seems to like it, however.)
Pouring another $36 billion into government-backed loans "avoids the bold, no-cost solutions that would truly jumpstart nuclear power in the U.S." writes the GOP on its website. (The Republicans also describe nuclear as an "emission-free" energy source, though it's not quite clear why they care about emissions since most Republicans don't seem to think greenhouse gases are a problem.) The GOP plan also touts its "no-cost nuclear power initiative" to bring 100 new nuclear reactors online over the next 20 years, which was included in the energy bill the party released last summer. They don't manage to explain how it will be "no-cost," since the nuclear industry has made it very clear that it can't exist without government support. (See "The Nuclear Option" for more.)
"Without loan guarantees we will not build nuclear power plants," Michael J. Wallace, co-chief executive of UniStar Nuclear and vice president of Constellation Energy, told the New York Times in 2007. The nuclear industry has called for $100 billion in loan guarantees from the government. And while those are, in theory, "loans," the Congressional Budget Office projects default rates of "well above 50 percent." With the cost of reactors now estimated at over $10 billion, plans to build 100 new plants in the next two decades would require more than a trillion dollars in capital investment.