Friday, January 8, 2010

Nuclear Politics:

Nuclear Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows

Politics has always spawned unlikely alliances, but the nuclear provisions of the current energy legislation seem more than ever to be making that old saw about politics making strange bedfellow seem very true. A recent New York Times article on the legislation points to some of the marriages being forged in the language of the bill. Advocates of nuclear loan guarantees are aligning with cap-and-trade supporters to each get what they want. On the state level, too, the prospects of jobs and tax revenues have some governors taking a fresh interest in having new nuclear plants built within their boundaries.

These things present an opportunity for the nuclear industry--while they are hot. The concern here is that some of these opportunities are fleeting. Even as some are forging deals that include would increase the loan guarantees in the current legislation, others are lining up to try to fight these provisions. Others warn that the energy legislation may be a possible victim of the acrimonious health care debate, and that the compromises needed to get the bill passed are going to be too hard for some to swallow.

Clearly, even though the eventual outcome isn't clear--and may turn on unrelated things entirely, those in the nuclear community needs to make their voices heard on the issues in the energy bill while it is still an active issue.


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