The Helen Caldicott Foundation | Subsidies


Every energy industry gets support, not just renewables

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Renewable energy subsidies reality check. Who gets subsidies, why, and where they really go. Why are Republicans screaming about useful subsidies to renewable energy, but not about outrageous subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear- proven failures in the race to prevent global warning, failures in the safety department, and failures in saving the consumer anything of value? It’s impossible to agree with the author’s claim that nuclear is reliable, but he is dead on on subsidies and the Price-Anderson Act.


“…Nuclear generates just more than 19 percent of U.S. electricity, and like natural gas and coal, does it reliably. But your electricity bill does not include the cost of loan guarantees required for investors to back new nuclear plants (that average 250 percent in cost overruns). They are loan guarantees, just like Solyndra received, but for a lot more money. Nor does it include most of the $100 billion-plus projected costs to dispose of the waste – wherever it eventually winds up. It doesn’t include subsidies paid to mine uranium in the Southwest. And it doesn’t include the costs to treat Americans stricken by cancer from the uranium tailings left behind.

And who pays the insurance for a catastrophic accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack? Mostly, you do. That’s right: the Price-Anderson Act caps company liability at just more than $12 billion, with taxpayers on the hook for the rest. For comparison, cost estimates for the Fukushima earthquake-tsunami-meltdown run up to $250 billion over just the next 10 years. The Price-Anderson Act was passed in 1957. The first U.S. nuclear power plant opened in 1958. Without Price-Anderson, there would never have been a nuclear industry.”

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