Since the President’s support for nuclear was made clear at the State of the Union, our nuclear critics have dramatically ramped up their opposition to nuclear, particularly on loan guarantees.
Besides continuously repeating the debunked 50 percent default rate for nuclear, one detail often neglected by our critics is how much loan volume is proposed as well as currently available for various technologies. Below is a slide used by Jonathan Silver, Executive Director of the Loan Guarantee Program Office, in a briefing on his Office’s 2011 budget.
Currently, efficiency and renewables have $52.3 billion in loan volume, advanced vehicles have $25B, nuclear has $20.5B, and the fossil and fossil/EERE mix have $12.0B. If the President’s budget proposal is passed as is, nuclear will have almost as much loan volume as efficiency and renewables.
Maybe one of the reasons our nuclear critics neglect to mention this fact is because the proposed loan volume for nuclear makes it about equal to their favorite technologies. If technologies are competing against each other, any advantage that one can get over another is part of the game. But in this case, if the US’ goal is to incentivize emission-free technologies, then certainly it should be done in a fair and transparent manner - a fact often lost on the critics.
If anyone is interested in some real facts on loan guarantees, please feel free to peruse (pdf).