News

NIRS: Good News!!! Nuke Loan Guarantees in Limbo; 10m Solar Rooftops Progressing

 

GOOD NEWS FROM WASHINGTON (FOR A CHANGE!)

SENATE REJECTS EMERGENCY FUNDING BILL WITH $9 BILLION IN NUKE LOAN GUARANTEES

SENATE DROPS NUKE-LARDED CLIMATE BILL AND SENATE COMMITTEE CUTS HOUSE COMMITTEE'S NUKE LOAN PROGRAM

10 MILLION SOLAR ROOFS BILL PASSES SENATE ENERGY COMMITTEE--SUPPORT IT NOW

AND ACT NOW TO STOP ANY NUKE AMENDMENTS TO NEXT WEEK'S ENERGY BILL

July 23, 2010

Dear Friend,

That's a lot of headlines for one Alert, but as you can see, there is finally some good news coming out of Washington! Your constant pressure and actions are making a real difference!

First, the Senate last night rejected the House-passed emergency supplemental funding bill by a 51-46 vote.* This is the bill that included $9 Billion in "emergency" loans for new nuclear reactor construction. The House will almost certainly have to accept the Senate version; those loans are now history.

Second, the Senate has given up on passing a climate bill before the November elections. That's obviously mixed news: we support a strong climate bill. But we weren't going to get a strong climate bill anyway; what we were going to get was a Christmas-in-July gift to the nuclear power industry. The wealthy nuclear corporations were all ready to unwrap their presents. Not this time.

Third, earlier this week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an energy funding bill for next year that includes $10 Billion in nuclear loans (along with $7+ billion for fossil fuels and about $3 billion for renewables). Those are clearly some misplaced priorities--and $10 billion for new reactors is $10 Billion too much, but it is less than half of the $25 Billion passed by the House Appropriations Committee. We'll keep you posted on how the Senate and House try to reconcile their differences, and when you can act.

Fourth, the Senate Energy Committee yesterday approved Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) 10 million solar roofs bill (S. 3460). This bill would provide tax credits and other incentives to encourage people to install solar power on 10 million rooftops across the U.S. It would ramp up mass production of solar panels and thus likely reduce their cost. It's an easy bill to support. Here is an article that describes the bill.

Unfortunately, the Committee also approved two pro-nuclear bills: S. 2052, which would authorize the Department of Energy to spend $50 million/year through 2015 to reduce the cost of new reactors (although it's hard to see how that kind of money can accomplish that goal, utilities already have plenty of incentive to reduce costs) and S. 2812, which would encourage the development of "small, modular reactors" and seek their design certification by the NRC by 2018 (although it is highly unlikely these could ever prove economical--see Amory Lovins' factsheet here).

YOUR ACTIONS ARE STILL NEEDED!

First, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to introduce a new, very scaled-down energy bill for debate next week, focused primarily on energy efficiency and offshore oil issues. We haven't yet seen this bill, but at this point we do not expect it to include any nuclear provisions.

However, when an energy bill reaches the Senate floor, there is always a strong possibility someone will try to attach a pro-nuclear amendment. If we learn of a specific amendment, we will let you know, but for now we encourage you to tell your Senators to oppose any nuclear amendments. You can do so here.

And, we encourage you to support a bill for a change! Please write your Senators here and urge them to co-sponsor and pass Sen. Sanders' 10 million solar roofs bill.

Finally, we ask you to please take a moment to donate to NIRS and help us continue the successes of this campaign. It's your support and your actions that make good news like this possible, and we need both of those.

Thank you so much for all you do,

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
nirsnet@nirs.org
www.nirs.org

*you can find out how your Senator voted here. It was primarily Senate Republicans who voted against the bill--not because they necessarily were opposed to nuclear loans, but because they were against domestic spending generally. There was no separate vote on the nuclear loans.