FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 100+ Organizations Sign Letter to Senate Finance Committee Opposing Subsidies for Nuclear Power in Build Back Better Act  | nirs.org

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1, 2021 

100+ Organizations Sign Letter to Senate Finance Committee Opposing Subsidies 

for Nuclear Power in Build Back Better Act 

 WASHINGTON, D.C.// December 1, 2021//

Over 100 organizations, including Friends of the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network, Food & Water Watch, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), and more sent a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and other members of the committee urging them to remove the $35 billion nuclear production tax credit (nuclear PTC) from the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), and to instead invest in a just and equitable transition to safe, clean renewable energy. 

The letter opposes a provision in the Build Back Better Act that would grant over $35 billion to prop up aging, increasingly uneconomical nuclear reactors for the next six years. The two largest beneficiaries of the nuclear PTC would be Exelon ($13.5 billion) and Energy Harbor ($3.0 billion)–both of which are at the center of federal corruption cases over state-level nuclear subsidy bills enacted in Illinois and Ohio in 2016 and 2019.  

The letter highlights the climate, economic, and environmental justice concerns with the proposed nuclear subsidy, in addition to evidence that nuclear power is too dirty, dangerous, expensive, and slow to be a viable solution to the climate crisis. Further, the letter points out that the nuclear PTC is duplicative, as there is already $6 billion in Civil Nuclear Credits in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would directly subsidize unprofitable nuclear reactors whose closure would impact emissions targets.

Tim Judson, NIRS executive director said that “To spend billions of dollars of the limited BBBA budget on a wasteful nuclear bailout would be a gross policy failure. This is especially so because it would be on top of the $6 billion for Civil Nuclear Credits in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. We urge the Senate Finance Committee to prevent this scandal in the making.”

Hannah Smay with NIRS added, “There is no public policy justification or climate rationale for a nuclear subsidy in the Build Back Better Act. The Nuclear PTC will not create a single new job. It will not deliver any investments to environmental justice communities. Wasting the next decade subsidizing aging, increasingly uneconomical nuclear power plants will incentivize environmental racism and obstruct real solutions to the climate crisis.” 

The 120+ organizations call for federal investments in a transition to efficient, renewable, 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 “The Nuclear PTC is no substitute for the now-canceled Clean Energy Performance Program (CEPP) proposal. CEPP was projected to achieve 80% emissions-free electricity by 2030, at a cost of $150 billion. If allocated to renewable energy, the funding dedicated to the nuclear PTC would fund tax credits for more than enough wind and solar generation to replace aging, unprofitable nuclear power plants with safe, clean, sustainable, carbon-free, renewable energy.” 

Read the letter and list of organizations here. 

The 120+ organizations demand that the Senate Finance Committee cancel the Nuclear PTC and direct the funding to measures in BBBA that provide real solutions to climate, jobs, and justice.

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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.

Contact Hannah Smay via email at hannahs@nirs.org or by phone at (208) 340-0531

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