NEWS FROM NIRS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2007
Contact: Kevin Kamps,
Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), (301) 270-6477 ext. 14
Alice Hirt, Don’t Waste Michigan,
Upton Seeks $5 Billion Taxpayer Subsidy for New Nuclear Reactors
Critics Charge He’s Doing Nuclear Power
Industry’s “Dirty Work”
Washington, D.C.--U.S. Congressman Fred Upton, a Republican
6th District, recently
introduced an amendment to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy Bill
that would lock in a full 50% of all energy-related federal loan guarantees for
the construction of new nuclear reactors. If passed into law, Upton’s
amendment would secure $5.5 billion or more for the nuclear power industry to
construct the first new reactors in the U.S. in decades.
high time for Congressman Upton to work on behalf of the health, safety,
security, environment, and pocketbook of West Michigan’s residents and
taxpayers, rather than the nuclear power industry’s bottomless
greed,” said Kevin Kamps of
Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), a Kalamazoo native.
guarantees for the construction of new energy infrastructure were approved in
the Energy Policy Act of 2005. In the lead up to that Act, the U.S.
Congressional Budget Office reported that as many as half of any new nuclear
power plant construction projects could be expected to default on their loans. Federal
loan guarantees would make American taxpayers liable for those defaulted loan
“Upton’s amendment would transfer the huge financial
risks from the nuclear power industry onto the backs of hard-working American
taxpayers,” said Alice Hirt of Don’t Waste Michigan in Holland. “This $5
billion giveaway would be to an industry that has already enjoyed lavish
subsidies at the expense of U.S.
taxpayers for the past fifty years, to the tune of hundreds of billions of
dollars in research and development support, liability coverage in the event of
catastrophic radiation releases, high-level radioactive waste disposal
costs, and much more.”
for Responsive Politics reports at its website, www.opensecrets.org, that Congressman
Upton received campaign contributions of $84,451 from Energy companies, and
$57,751 from Electric Utilities, during the 2005 to 2006 federal election cycle
alone. The nuclear utilities that would own and operate the new reactors, and
the energy companies that would build and fuel them, would directly benefit
from such federal loan guarantees.
again, Upton seems to be paying back his
corporate campaign contributors, namely the nuclear power industry, at the
expense of U.S.
taxpayers,” said Kamps.
For well over
a decade, Upton has been a leading House
supporter for one of the nuclear power industry’s top priorities, opening
a national dumpsite for high-level radioactive waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
Within Rep. Upton’s district, there are two nuclear reactors at the Cook
plant in Bridgman, and one reactor at the Palisades
plant in Covert.
DTE Energy (formerly Detroit Edison Company) has
proposed a new reactor, likely to be targeted at its Fermi nuclear power plant
site in Monroe, Michigan. DTE’s Chairman and CEO,
Anthony F. Earley, is also Chairman of the Board of the Nuclear Energy
Institute, the nuclear power industry’s lobby arm.
“DTE is already seeking to charge an additional hundreds of millions of
dollars on Michigan ratepayers’
electricity bills in order to build its new reactor,” said Michael Keegan
of Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes in Monroe, Michigan.
“And if Upton gets his way, DTE could take billions more from federal
taxpayers as well, all to generate yet more radioactive waste for which we have
no safe solution.”
“Upton is guilty of atomic
hypocrisy,” said Kamps of NIRS. “While concerned citizen volunteers
struggled to shut down the dangerously-decrepit Palisades reactor, Upton urged the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission to rubberstamp the old reactor’s 20 year
license extension. This was a reversal of his 1996 position, communicated to
concerned citizens at a face-to-face meeting in Kalamazoo, that he ‘was
not there’ when the decision to build Palisades had been made, but
that we should allow it to operate till the 2007 expiration of its original 40
year operating license. Now Upton wants Palisades to operate for 60 years, and even wants to
build new atomic reactors.”
seems that for Upton, the nuclear power industry
can do no wrong,” said Terry Lodge, a Toledo attorney who challenges corporate
welfare schemes. “Upton has failed to protect public safety and security
against failures at Palisades, and now he
wants to give away billions of taxpayer dollars to help the nuclear industry
build more radioactive bull’s-eyes, reactors that are vulnerable to
accidents and attacks.” Lodge has served as pro bono attorney for the
citizen intervention against the 20 year license extension at Palisades.
urge Congressman Upton to withdraw his radioactive amendment, and instead
secure federal funding for safe, secure, reliable, and clean renewable sources
of electricity, such as solar and wind,” said Hirt. “Michigan has abundant renewable
energy resources, which along with energy efficiency measures could provide
thousands of well-paid jobs in the state, while protecting public health, the
environment, and the climate.”
Upton’s proposed amendment will first be
considered by a U.S. House subcommittee. If passed, it would then move on to
the full House Energy and Commerce Committee (headed by Michigan Congressman John Dingell), and then to the full House when it
takes up the Energy Bill just after the 4th of July.
The short text of Rep. Upton’s amendment is available upon request.
information on concerned citizen efforts to shut down Palisades,