WASHINGTON, D.C — Over 240 organizations, including Friends of the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network, Food & Water Watch, The League of Women Voters, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and hundreds more sent a letter to Congressional leaders telling them to reject all proposals in infrastructure bills that subsidize nuclear energy, and to instead invest in a just and equitable transition to safe, clean renewable energy.
The letter opposes proposals in both the energy legislation for the larger reconciliation package (S.2291/H.R.4024) and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which together would grant up to $50 billion to prop up aging, increasingly uneconomical nuclear reactors for the next decade.
The letter highlights climate, economic, and environmental justice concerns with proposed nuclear subsidies, in addition to evidence that nuclear power is too dirty, dangerous, expensive, and slow to be a viable solution to the climate crisis.
All of the proposed subsidies (up to $50 billion) are predicted to go to reactors owned by only eight corporations and located in only 19 counties across eight states. Over 50 organizations in each of these states – Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas – signed the letter.
Tim Judson, NIRS executive director said that “Despite the size of this extraordinarily inequitable investment of taxpayer dollars, to subsidize old nuclear power reactors, not one single new job would be created. Worse, allocating $50 billion to old reactors instead of renewable energy, efficiency, and other clean electricity infrastructure would prevent the creation of more than 60,000 new jobs.”
Hannah Smay with NIRS added, “Regarding environmental impacts, subsidizing nuclear reactors will result in the creation of more radioactive waste without mitigating any of the significant environmental justice, climate justice, economic justice, and nuclear weapons proliferation impacts.”
In response to the urgency of the recently released IPCC climate report, the hundreds of organizations call for federal investments in a transition to efficient, renewable, truly clean energy technologies that can scale up as rapidly and affordably as possible to reduce emissions as aggressively as possible. Not only does nuclear energy fail to meet any of those criteria, investing billions of dollars in subsidies for old reactors directly funnels public investment away from environmentally just, equitable, and sustainable solutions to the climate crisis.
The letter states “We cannot perpetuate false solutions that prolong our reliance on dirty energy industries and have any hope of ending the climate and environmental justice crises those industries create. Providing billions of dollars in subsidies to nuclear power will only put short-sighted economic interests ahead of human lives, racial justice, the health of our environment, safe drinking water, and a thriving, equitable economy.”
David Kraft, director of the Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), points out an additional ominous dimension to the federal nuclear subsidies:
“The overwhelming amount of these subsidies and state-level nuclear bailout schemes would be going to utilities and an industry which have demonstrated a consistent penchant for corruption and criminal behavior in their business models,” Kraft points out.
“Exelon in Illinois, the former First Energy in Ohio, SCANA in South Carolina – all have been subject to FBI investigations, federal bribery and improper lobbying charges, and outright admissions of guilt, paying hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. These are neither the business partners nor the industry America can rely on to successfully fight and win against the climate crisis,” Kraft asserts.
“Politicians had better understand that subsidizing providing the nuclear industry with bailouts is rewarding and abetting these criminal behaviors; and that they will be judged by the company they keep in the upcoming mid-term elections,” Kraft concludes.
The 240+ organizations demand that these bailouts be omitted from the budget and funds be directed to investing in carbon-free, nuclear-free clean energy. Sixteen of the organizations are from Illinois, the most nuclear-reliant state in the U.S., and which is debating a $700 million Exelon nuclear bailout in upcoming state energy legislation.
The Nuclear Information and Resource Service is an organization devoted to the just energy transition from nuclear to clean, renewable energy sources and advocates for a nuclear-free, carbon-free future. They are located near Washington DC in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), is a 40-year old, safe-energy advocacy, anti-nuclear power watchdog organization based in Chicago, IL, advocating for a carbon-free/nuclear-free energy future, and environmentally responsible solutions to radioactive waste management.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AUGUST 24 , 2021
- Hannah Smay, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, Inc., (301) 270-6477, (208) 340-0531, firstname.lastname@example.org
- David Kraft, Director, Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), (773)342-7650,