Obama's nuclear power policy: a study in contradictions?

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"President Obama has followed up on his support for 'a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants,' laid out Jan. 27 in his State of the Union speech, by proposing to triple public financing for nuclear power...

"Budget hawks have a different set of concerns. They oppose government 'subsidies' to the industry (in the form of federal loan guarantees), saying taxpayers assume a huge risk given the industry's track record of cost overruns – and loan defaults – in the 1980s.

" 'We didn't have good experience recently with the mortgage industry, and we ought to keep that in mind with nuclear power,' says Doug Koplow, president of Earthtrack, an energy consulting firm. 'For each power plant, we're talking about something like $8 billion in taxpayer exposure to a single asset owned by a private firm. To me that seems unprecedented.' "