Singing the Praises of Nuclear Energy

By October 25, 2007Culture and Entertainment, Energy

Always good information and commentary over at the NEI Nuclear Notes blog, but this week they’ve done a particularly helpful job of responding to the latest pop-celebratory foolishness, the revived “No Nukes” musicians campaign. These rock ‘n roll activists are now going after federal loan guarantee programs that the nuclear industry — like other energy producers — seek to access for their energy projects. Subsidies, they cry!

As NEI’s chief blogger, Eric McErlain comments:

Don’t get me wrong, everyone understands that Americans have a right to speak their minds on the issues of the day. But what’s bugging us is that — with a few notable exceptions the press is giving these musicians a free pass when it comes to what they’re saying about the industry, in particular about nuclear energy and loan guarantees.

So the blog makes the space for a point-by-point explanation and rebuttal to the emotive but fact-challenged arguments from Richard Myers, NEI’s vice president for policy development.

  • Nuclear Energy and Loan Guarantees, Part I.
  • Nuclear Energy and Loan Guarantees, Part II.
  • Nuclear Energy and Loan Guarantees, Part III.
  • Key point:

    We can’t speak for the other nine technologies eligible for loan guarantees, but in the case of new nuclear plants the probability of default is pretty close to zero. Why? Because the companies building these new nuclear power plants will have one billion dollars or more of their own equity (actually, their shareholders’ money) invested in the project, side-by-side with the guaranteed debt. In the event of default, the company loses that investment: The government will seize it to help repay the loan. There’s not an electric power company in the United States that can sustain a billion-dollar loss on a single project. That’s why these projects are so well-planned. Why all necessary safety and regulatory approvals are obtained before construction begins. Why due diligence is so disciplined and exhaustive. Why successful completion and operation is (forgive the word) guaranteed.

    Elsewhere, Myers shockingly turns to Alexander Hamilton to buttress his arguments. Guess David Crosby wasn’t available.

    The other fun bit in these posts is a video rebuttal to the musicians’ arguments, actually holding Bonnie, Graham, Jackson and Ben accountable for their claims, which, not surprisingly, turn out to sound nice in the key of E but still are wrong and misleading. For what it’s worth.

    And Salon provides some critical reporting, too.

    Really, these musicians should just stop, now.

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