First it was the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann claimed was the “most perfect place on the planet to drill” for oil. Now, the overnight energy expert has declared that she would “welcome” another nuclear power plant in the 6th Congressional District—and specifically in her own backyard.
“Another nuclear power plant would bring down the price of people’s monthly energy bills,” said Bachmann. Xcel Energy already operates one nuclear power plant in the district at Monticello, where high-level spent radioactive waste storage on-site in dry casks was approved in 2006.
Bachmann spoke glowingly of John McCain’s plan to add 45 more nuclear power plants to America’s energy supply.
“It’s a great idea. And the sooner the better,” Bachmann told hometownsource.com, an online extension of ECM Publications in the northern suburbs.
Sixty-six nuclear power plants with 104 reactors operating in the U.S. According to the Scientific American, the industry is beginning a resurgence. The first application for a new nuclear reactor in 30 years was filed last year by a Texas utility, and more are on the way:
Armed with the backing of the White House and congressional leaders—and subsidies, such as $500 million in risk insurance from the U.S. Department of Energy— the nuclear industry is experiencing a revival in the U.S. As many as 29 new reactors may be added to the current U.S. fleet of 104, according to Bill Borchardt, director of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) office of new reactors. “It is going to be significantly different than it was in the 1970s,” he says.
While pro-nuke evangelists like Bachmann preach that nuclear power can stand on its own without subsidies, they conveniently fail to mention the Price-Anderson Act, which limits the U.S. nuclear industry’s liability in the event of an accident to a total of about $10.5 billion. After that, the taxpayers pick up the tab—and that could conservatively run into the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Estimates of the value of the Price-Anderson subsidy to the industry vary widely, from $237 million to $3.5 billion annually. However, it’s clear that the subsidy insulates the industry from much of its risk and unfairly distorts nuclear power’s competitiveness in the energy marketplace.
Bachmann didn’t specify in which back yard she wanted a new nuclear power plant. While she currently resides in Stillwater, the Bachmanns’ house is on the market and they are moving to Woodbury, according to her office.
In either case, it’s not likely that her neighbors will be joining her in rolling out the welcome mat for a nuke on the street.