Facing South

INDEX: Nuking the taxpayers

Percent by which President Obama's latest budget proposal would increase taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to build new nuclear reactors: 300

Amount the Department of Energy under President Bush originally proposed spending on loan guarantees for nuclear reactors: $18.5 billion

Amount the Obama administration is now proposing to spend: $54 billion

Number of new reactors that Energy Secretary Steven Chu says that amount could support: 7 to 10

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's estimate of the risk of default on these loans, leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab: 50%

Potential risk exposure to taxpayers based on various proposed scenarios for new nuclear plant construction, as calculated by the Union of Concerned Scientists: $360 billion to $1.6 trillion

Current price estimate for a new reactor: $10 billion

Of the 4 nuclear reactor construction projects considered front-runners for loan guarantees*, number in the South: 3

Early cost estimate for the two reactors proposed for the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina, a joint project of SCE&G and Santee Cooper: $9.8 billion

Current cost estimate for that project: nearly $11 billion

Current estimated cost of the project to build two new reactors at the Southern Co./Georgia Power Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga.: $14 billion

Year in which the Georgia legislature passed a law allowing Georgia Power to begin charging customers for the Vogtle reactors even before they were licensed: 2009

Date on which the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that Westinghouse failed to demonstrate that the building designed to shield its AP1000 reactor -- the design slated for Vogtle and Summer -- was safe: 10/15/2009

Original cost estimate for the two reactors at the South Texas Project, which involves NRG Energy, CPS Energy and Toshiba: $5.4 billion

Adjusted cost estimate announced last fall: $13 billion

Current cost estimate for the project: $17 billion

Amount in damages CPS is seeking via a lawsuit that alleges NRG and Toshiba conspired to mislead its officials on the reactors' cost: $32 billion

Current estimated cost of the EPR reactor proposed for Calvert Cliffs in Maryland, not including financing: $10 billion

The estimated cost of an identical reactor being considered in Pennsylvania: $13 billion to $15 billion

During the previous nuclear push of the 1970s and 1980s, number of new plants utilities abandoned due to cost overruns: about 100

Estimated amount taxpayers and ratepayers paid for those abandoned plants: $40 billion

Amount ratepayers paid in today's dollars in cost overruns for the plants that were built: over $200 billion

Year in which Forbes magazine called the previous round of nuclear plant construction "the largest managerial disaster in business history, a disaster on a monumental scale": 1985

Estimated additional amount it would cost to generate electricity today from 100 new nuclear reactors instead of generating the same amount of power from a combination of energy efficiency and renewables: $1.9 trillion to $4.1 trillion

* In the South, two new reactors are slated for V.C. Summer in South Carolina, two for Plant Vogtle in Georgia, and two at the South Texas Project near San Antonio. One reactor is also planned at Maryland's Calvert Cliffs, a joint undertaking of Constellation Energy and the French government-owned Electricité de France.

(Click on figure to go to the original source.)

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