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View Diary: Eco Roundup 3.8.11 (5 comments)

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  •  What is so surprising (2+ / 0-)
    It is no big surprise that Americans don’t want cuts in Social Security, Medicare, or K-12 education. But the new WSJ/NBC poll does have some surprises:
    The survey found that the most popular potential spending cuts were subsidies to build new nuclear plants, with 57 percent support….

    about the general public favoring medicare, k-12 education and social security over nuclear power, the EPA and federal assistance to state governments? I didn't see a question about the public wanting renewable subsides preserved. My guess it they would not have fared well either. According to the poll, half of Americans are deluding themselves into believing that the budget can be balanced without touching entitlement programs. The poll says more about the challenges Congress will have balancing the budget than it does about what good policy is.

    Of course, nuclear is absurdly over-subsidized (see “Nuclear Pork—Enough is Enough“). In fact, a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable without Subsidies (the source of the chart below), finds:

    Government subsidies to the nuclear power industry over the past fifty years have been so large in proportion to the value of the energy produced that in some cases it would have cost taxpayers less to simply buy kilowatts on the open market and give them away ….

    What is notable about both studies you cite is that they look at nuclear in isolation. They make no attempt to put the subsidies in any context. EIA , on the other hand, has no such biases. Total subsidy spending is about 4 times higher for renewables than for nuclear in absolute terms. In relative terms the comparison is even worse. Put another way, for every Kw-hr of nuclear power you pay for in your monthly utility bill you pay an extra $0.0016 in taxes to cover the nuclear subsidies, while for renewables you pay $0.023 (Table ES5). Fifteen times more.

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