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Whatever you think about the stimulus bill, there’s plenty of good green energy thinking in it. Here are a few things flagged in the latest Apollo Alliance action alert:

  • increasing funding for green-collar job training and other key workforce training programs;
  • increased investments in ready-to-go transit projects and rail upgrades;
  • the Feingold amendment, allowing utilities to access funds for large-scale energy efficiency projects in private buildings;
  • the Udall amendment, co-sponsored by Kerry, Whitehouse and Bingaman, to increase funding for State Energy Programs;
  • construction and renovation projects that prioritize energy efficiency; and
  • loan guarantees for retooling factories and retraining workers to “Make it in America.”

But it’s not all peaches and cream. NIRS (The Nuclear Information and Research Service) reports that the stimulus bill now includes an additional $50 billion in loan guarantees for the nuclear industry.

Late on January 27, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the economic stimulus bill with a new provision that would allow up to $50 Billion more in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for the construction of new nuclear reactors across the U.S. It appears that neither Senate nor House leadership were aware this provision would be considered by the Appropriations Committee.

According to My San Antonio:

Those funds, added by the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier this week, would expand the current pot of $18.5 billion in loan guarantees that nuclear projects all over the country are vying for….

(Making the current proposal nearly a four-fold increase.)

But many in Washington say it will be a tough battle for the nuclear industry to push the $50 billion all the way to the final stimulus package, particularly after a recent report from the Government Accountability Office estimated a 50 percent default rate for DOE loan guarantees.
“A lot of people don’t realize this kind of provision is in the bill,” said Michele Boyd of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a group opposed to nuclear power “This idea that the government would be willing to give away 50 billion for nuclear — I think the nuclear industry is overreaching as usual.”

Yes, I know that that nuclear is being promoted by some environmental allies as a carbon free energy solution to climate change. Expect that it’s not, it’s more expensive than wind (and efficiency), it’s not necessary, and we’ve yet to master the nuclear fuel cycle. (See for example, How green is nuclear power? and Blinded by Carbon: 6 Nuclear Energy Myths Exposed)
Other than that…
So you might want to let your Senators and Congressional reps know what you think. (Today – since the votes are due soon.)