Taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power cost billions

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Article provides a review of Earth Track's report on nuclear subsidies, prepared for UCS:

If Uncle Sam and co. had bought power on the open market and given it away free, it would have cost less than subsidizing nuclear power plant construction and operation over the last 50 years, says a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“The most important subsidies to the industry do not involve cash payments,” the report says. “Rather, they shift construction-cost and operating risks from investors to taxpayers and ratepayers, burdening taxpayers with an array of risks ranging from cost overruns and defaults to accidents and nuclear waste man­agement. This approach, which has remained remarkably consistent throughout the industry’s history, distorts market choices that would other­wise favor less risky investments. ….

“Reactor owners, therefore, have never been economically responsible for the full costs and risks of their operations. Instead, the public faces the prospect of severe losses in the event of any number of potential adverse scenarios, while pri­vate investors reap the rewards if nuclear plants are economically successful. For all practical purposes, nuclear power’s economic gains are privatized, while its risks are socialized.”