"Why the hell?"
Yes, indeed, nuclear.
Why the hell?... the Price Anderson Act, which limits the liability of the nuclear industry in case of a serious nuclear accident — leaving taxpayers on the hook for potentially hundreds of billions in compensation costs;
Why the hell?... federal disposal of nuclear waste in a permanent repository, which will save the industry billions at taxpayer expense;
Why the hell? and licensing regulations, wherein the report recommends that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission further grease the skids of its quasi-judicial licensing process to preclude successful interventions from opponents.
Why the hell has the nuclear industry receive over $100 billion in subsidies?
Why the hell?: the energy bill has the federal government providing loan guarantees covering 50 percent of the cost of building 8,400 Megawatts of new nuclear power, the equivalent of six or seven new power plants. The Congressional Research Service estimated that these loan guarantees alone would cost taxpayers $14 to $16 billion. The Congressional Budget Office believes “the risk of default on such a loan guarantee to be very high — well above 50 percent.
Why the hell?
In 2005, the Energy Policy Act provided another $13 billion of subsidies, tax incentives and other support for the nuclear power industry. It also created the energy loan guarantee program.
In December 2007, Congress and George W. Bush approved $20.5 billion in nuclear loan guarantees under this program ($18.5 billion for new atomic reactors, $2 billion for new uranium enrichment facilities).
Construction subsidies ~ $3.25 billion + $18.5 billion in loan guarantees
$18.5 billion in loan guarantees for new reactors. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the default rate is “very high – well above 50 percent.”
Authorization of $2 billion in “risk insurance” to pay the industry for any delays in construction and operation licensing for 6 new reactors, including delays due to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or litigation. The payments would include interest on loans and the difference between the market price and the contractual price of power.
Authorization of more than $1.25 billion for a nuclear reactor in Idaho to generate hydrogen fuel
Operating subsidies ~ $5.7 billion + Limited Liability
Reauthorization of the Price-Anderson Act, extending the industry’s liability cap to cover new nuclear power plants built in the next 20 years
Incentives for “modular” reactor designs (such as the pebble bed reactor, which has never been built anywhere in the world) by allowing a combination of smaller reactors to be considered one unit, thus lowering the amount that the nuclear operator is responsible to pay under Price-Anderson
Production tax credits of 1.8-cent for each kilowatt-hour up to 6,000 megawatts of nuclear-generated electricity from new reactors during the first 8 years of operation, costing $5.7 billion in revenue losses to the U.S. Treasury through 2025
Radioactive waste subsidies ~ $22 billion thus far + guaranteed waste removal
DOE-utility contracts guaranteeing that the nuclear waste will be removed from the site within 10 year of shutdown or the US taxpayer pays for spend fuel storage costs
One mil (one-tenth of one cent) per kilowatt-hour paid by ratepayers receiving electricity from nuclear reactors to pay for a geologic repository for the spent fuel; the Nuclear Waste Fund currently has $22 billion
Shut-down subsidies ~ $1.3 billion
Changes the rules for nuclear decommissioning funds that are to be used to clean up closed nuclear plant sites by repealing the cost of service requirement for contributions to a fund and allowing the transfer of pre-1984 decommissioning costs to a qualified fund, costing taxpayers $1.3 billion