Senators Markey & Sanders: Don’t Waste Taxpayer Dollars on Risky International Nuclear Projects

The following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey, who was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. He is a Democrat.

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WASHINGTON DC – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) yesterday, July 10 sent a letter to the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to press for answers on an impending rule change that would allow DFC to finance nuclear energy projects around the world – a break from longstanding precedent.

At the same time that DFC is being stretched thin in its first year of operation and is being asked to tackle causes as disparate as Afghanistan reconstruction and domestic pandemic response, the current proposal would take money away from important development work, including more cost-effective alternatives to fossil-fuel projects. In their letter,

Senators Markey and Sanders argue that financing of high-risk projects abroad – involving technologies that haven’t been commercially successful even in developed economies – would exceed the DFC’s mandate and require additional oversight and due diligence in areas of expertise the DFC lacks.

“International nuclear power projects described by DFC are not a cost-competitive form of zero-carbon energy, remain unproven, will divert funds from higher-priority low-income countries, and are not supported by other development banks,” write the Senators in the letter to CEO Adam Boehler. “DFC financing of overseas nuclear reactors may offshore the physical risks associated nuclear power, but they would keep U.S. taxpayers on the hook for the steep financial ones.”

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

In the letter, the Senators ask for responses to questions that include:

  • Why is DFC seeking to lift the restriction on financial support for nuclear power at this moment?
  • Is DFC comfortable bearing disproportionate risk on behalf of U.S. taxpayers on nuclear financing projects relative to other projects?
  • Does DFC believe it should relieve the nuclear industry of uniquely high financial risks by using loan guarantees or other measures to shift the burden to DFC and U.S. taxpayers?
  • How would private entity applicants for DFC financing demonstrate sufficient commitment and capacity to manage a nuclear accident in the operation of novel technologies?
  • Given higher risks, higher costs, and the dearth of co-financing associated with nuclear energy projects, how would financing these projects instead of renewable energy and other projects advance the core development mission of DFC?

editor

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