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E-M:/ Upton, New Nuclear Plants and Billions in Taxpayer Dollars



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Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
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News from Beyond Nuclear
For Immediate Release: December 19, 2007
Contact: Kevin Kamps, Beyond Nuclear, (240) 462-3216
Rep. Upton Wins Federal Loan Guarantees 
for New Nuclear Reactors
Feds Shift $20.5 Billion Risk onto Taxpayers
 
Washington, D.C. ? U.S. Congressman Fred Upton, aa Republican representing Michiganâ??s 6th District, has led the congressional effort that will now make U.S. taxpayers the co-signers on risky loans for building new nuclear reactors. If nuclear utilities default on their loan repayments to private banks, then taxpayers would be left holding the bag for as much as $20.5 billion. Nuclear utility executives have publicly stated that without federal loan guarantees, they will not build new reactors. Wall Street investment firms have urged the federal government to fully guarantee nuclear loans. And the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that well over half of new nuclear reactor projects will default on their loans.
 
"It's high time for Congressman Upton to work on behalf of the health, safety, and pocketbook of southwest Michigan's residents and taxpayers, rather than the nuclear power industry's bottomless greed," said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, a national watchdog group on the nuclear power industry. 
 
"Upton has transferred the huge financial risks from the nuclear industry and Wall Street onto the backs of hard-working American taxpayers. This $20.5 billion latent subsidy is to an industry that has already enjoyed lavish subsidies at the expense of U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers for the past fifty years. These have amounted to hundreds of billions of dollars in research and development support, liability coverage in the event of catastrophic radiation releases, high-level radioactive waste management costs, and much more," Kamps ? a Kalamazoo native and Donâ???t Waste Michigan board member ? added.
 
Uptonâ??s nuclear boosterism has not come unrewarded. The Center for Responsive Politics reports at its website, www.opensecrets.org, that Upton received campaign contributions of $84,451 from energy companies, and $57,751 from electric utilities, during the last federal election cycle alone. The nuclear utilities that would own and operate the new reactors, and the energy industry companies that would build and fuel them, will directly benefit from such federal loan guarantees. New Orleans-based Entergy Nuclear, which owns the Palisades atomic reactor in Uptonâ??s district, plans to build four new reactors in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. DTE Energy (formerly Detroit Edison) plans to build a new reactor in Michigan.
 
A broad coalition of national taxpayer, public interest, and environmental organizations worked feverishly for months to block nuclear loan guarantees from being attached to the energy and farm bills in Congress. However, Upton and Republican U.S. Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico succeeded in attaching the provision to the omnibus appropriations bill in the final days of the congressional session. This bill will likely be signed into law by George W. Bush this week.
 
Congress Daily reported on December 13th that â??Upton promised to push the issue with appropriators to ensure nuclear power is covered under the loan guarantee plan.â?? It quoted Upton as saying â??When we look to the future, nuclear has to be part of the equation?We have to convince appropriators that this issue is important.ââ??
 
â??Nuclear money talks, and Upton is listening,â?? Kamps said. "Upton has given a massive early Christmas present to his corporate campaign contributors, at the expense and risk of U.S. taxpayers.â?? 
 
--End--


Kevin Kamps
Radioactive Waste Watchdog
Beyond Nuclear
6930 Carroll Avenue, Suite 400
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912

Office phone: (301) 270-2209
Cell phone: (240) 462-3216
Fax: (301) 270-4000
kevin@beyondnuclear.org
www.beyondnuclear.org


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