Wall Street won’t touch nuclear power today. All nuclear research, development, and construction now and in the future will depend on government and/or ratepayer handouts. The first commercial nuclear reactor could never have been built without safety compromises and government insurance from liability.
U.S. government subsidies for nuclear power dwarf those for renewables. Loan guarantees not repaid are impossible to estimate, but they will not be zero. The whopping total from 2022 is AS MUCH AS $150 BILLION.
Who will pay to keep waste isolated for thousands of years? LEGISLATION PENDING NOW would give the U.S. government ownership of radioactive waste, taking that responsibility away from nuclear utilities that generate the waste. Paying these costs could bankrupt the utilities, but in any case, the bill will eventually fall to the public.
Uranium welfare is nuclear power and weapons welfare. Uranium industries have heavily benefitted from an array of government subsidies. These have included price guarantees, site discovery, production bonuses, and avoiding responsibility for cleanup and waste. Milling is subsidized by the Department of Energy’s control and release of uranium from its stockpile according to the market. Other front-end (nuclear fuel) subsidies come in the form of tax breaks and services at local and state levels, including water development to supply the mining industry. Unpredictable subsidies led to a cold war uranium mining boom and bust. Poor federal and state regulation allowed uranium industries to discard toxic and radioactive materials and later simply abandon mines and sites. Mining is the least regulated part of the nuclear fuel chain, with no regulation of radioactivity.
Nuclear power and nuclear weapons connection: When the government and nuclear industries talk about nuclear power, they avoid mentioning the Front (nuclear fuel) and Back (nuclear waste) Ends of nuclear power. Uranium is the bedrock element needed to make nuclear fuel. An important reason for uranium subsidies is that enriched uranium is needed for nuclear weapons. The Ohio Nuclear Free Network WROTE A RESPONSEto the Department of Energy’s 2021 request to renew its Uranium Reserve Program, referring to the program as welfare to nuclear industries and a dedicated weapons material supply chain that would induce new nuclear arms races and increase the likelihood of military and nuclear confrontation.
TAKE ACTION: Start a conversation in your community about taxpayer funding of nuclear power. It is important to end subsidies for expensive, outdated nuclear power – subsidies that compete with funding for real energy solutions like efficiency and renewables.