Welcome!

@DXWorldExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo

News Feed Item

"Golden Fleece Award" Goes To Department of Energy For Federal Spending On Small Modular Reactors

 $100 Million in "Mini Nuke" Corporate Welfare Already Doled Out, Another Half Billion Dollars Or More in the Pipeline for Major Corporations that Could Pay for Own R&D, Licensing

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The federal government is in the process of wasting more than half a billion dollars to pay large, profitable companies for what should be their own expenses for research & development (R&D) and licensing related to "small modular reactors" (SMRs), which would be about a third of the size or less of today's large nuclear reactors.  In response, the nonpartisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense today handed out its latest "Golden Fleece Award" to the Department of Energy for the dollars being wasted on SMRs.

Titled "Taxpayer Subsidies for Small Modular Reactors," a related TCS background report is available online at www.taxpayer.net.  

Ryan Alexander, president, Taxpayers for Common Sense, said:  "The nation is two days away from the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration. But at the same time we are hearing the Department of Energy and the nuclear industry evangelizing about the benefits of small modular reactors. In reality, we cannot afford to pile more market-distorting subsidies to profitable companies on top the billions of dollars we already gave away."

Autumn Hanna, senior program director, Taxpayers for Common Sense, said:  "The nuclear industry has a tradition of rushing forth to proclaim that a new technology, just around the corner, will take care of whatever problem exists. Unfortunately, these technologies have an equally long tradition of expensive failure. If the industry believes in small modular reactors and a reactor in every backyard – great – but don't expect the taxpayer to pick up the tab."

The federal government already paid for a version of SMR R&D when small reactors were designed for the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarine fleet. Now some highly profitable companies – including Babcock & Wilcox, Westinghouse, Holtec International, and Fluor Corporation -- are at the federal trough for another round of federal support for small modular reactors that could go into suburban American neighborhoods.

The TCS Award announcement takes place a few weeks before the release of President Obama's latest budget outline, which is expected to call for a continuation of SMR licensing and R&D funding at taxpayer's expense. The Department of Energy has already provided nearly $100 million for these so-called mini reactors while their commercial viability remains in question. In addition, DOE has committed up to $452 million over the next five years in an attempt to fund up to two separate demonstration projects.

In making the Golden Fleece Award, Taxpayers for Common Sense highlighted the following issues:

  • "Hot-tub" sized reactors … and king-sized costs? The vision the industry and DOE seem to be peddling is a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, and a reactor in every basement. It's hard to see the large-scale viability. Absolutely no one is clamoring to buy an SMR because there is no assurance that the electricity will be remotely competitive with power from other sources.  New nuclear power today is uncompetitive by a very wide margin.  At today's natural gas prices, SMRs would have to produce electricity at half the projected cost of conventional reactors to compete.  There is not the slightest indication that they can do so. 
  • The case being made for federally subsidized SMRs directly contradicts the case that already has been made by the same industry for federal subsidized large reactors.  "There are no reliable cost estimates for SMRs. Nuclear vendors are notorious for underestimating costs, and there is no actual experience.  Since the 1950s, the nuclear industry worldwide has consistently pushed for larger reactors on the theory that economics would improve if the high fixed costs of building safe plants could be spread over more kilowatt hours. SMRs represent a reversal of this reasoning and call into question the extensive federal support now being offered to promote a 'nuclear renaissance' based on standardizing and sticking to a few large reactor designs."
  • There is no assurance that SMRs would pass regulatory muster. "The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has stated it is not fully prepared to license small modular reactors. In 2008, NRC estimated that it would have a regulatory review process in place to license the first small modular reactors within five years. However in a May 2012 the NRC said, 'If an appreciable fraction of total SMR initiatives materialized, it would create an untenable situation for the NRC.'"
  • SMRs come with several additional question marks.   Major issues for taxpayers include the lack of long-term radioactive waste storage, the creation of additional targets for terrorist attacks across suburban American, the cost of added security to protect the new facilities, etc.

SMRs have been the focus of a considerable amount of uncritical news media coverage in recent months.

A fraction of the size of conventional-scale reactors, small modular reactors are intended to be manufactured by assembly line and transported by truck, ship, or rail to their destinations. With designs ranging in size from one-third the size of a large-scale plant to "hot-tub" sized, SMRs would also produce significantly less power.

ABOUT TCS AND THE AWARD

Taxpayers for Common Sense is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan budget watchdog serving as an independent voice for American taxpayers. The mission of TCS is to achieve a government that spends taxpayer dollars responsibly and operates within its means. The organization works with individuals, policymakers, and the media to increase transparency, expose and eliminate wasteful and corrupt subsidies, earmarks, and corporate welfare, and hold decision makers accountable.

The Golden Fleece Award was created in 1975 by the late Senator William Proxmire. It is intended to highlight instances of wasteful spending. After retirement, Sen. Proxmire served as Honorary Chairman of Taxpayers for Common Sense's Advisory Board and passed the mantle of the Golden Fleece to the organization in 2000.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of the news event will be available on the Web at http://www.taxpayer.net as of 5 p.m. EST on February 27, 2013.

CONTACT:  Steve Ellis, +1-202-546-8500 x126, or [email protected]; and Ailis Wolf, +1-703-276-3265 or [email protected].

 

SOURCE Taxpayers for Common Sense, Washington, DC

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

DXWorldEXPO Digital Transformation Stories
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recomm...
OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...
After years of investments and acquisitions, CloudBlue was created with the goal of building the world's only hyperscale digital platform with an increasingly infinite ecosystem and proven go-to-market services. The result? An unmatched platform that helps customers streamline cloud operations, save time and money, and revolutionize their businesses overnight. Today, the platform operates in more than 45 countries and powers more than 200 of the world's largest cloud marketplaces, managing mo...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...