Amendment 3 to HR 5325
Nuclear Energy Subsidies
June 5, 2012
On Friday, I offered an amendment to eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the so-called renewable sector and this amendment eliminates them to the nuclear sector, saving another half-billion dollars.
It does not affect the surcharges electricity consumers have already paid for waste disposal or for military applications or the essential maintenance of our nation’s radiological facilities.
But it relieves taxpayers from funding research and development that rightly rests with the nuclear industry, and requires that industry to compete with all other energy technologies to attract capital based on its own merit.
On Friday I expressed my skepticism of companies like Solyndra that have pedaled technologies that just don’t pencil out. Let me now declare my confidence in nuclear technology and in companies like General Electric and Westinghouse that have pioneered these technologies.
But that is not an argument for taxpayers to underwrite their research and development departments. Whether Congress is skeptical of the technology or confident of it – we are not intellectually equipped or constitutionally authorized to choose winners and losers among various companies or technologies, or to substitute our judgment for that of individual investors.
I realize these companies certainly won’t turn down free money extracted from taxpayers, but I do not believe they actually need it. What’s more, I imagine they will be better off when we stop telling them what designs to use by federal fiat and start allowing the licensing of any design submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that meets health and safety standards.
This is the worst of both worlds for our constituents. We force them to pay for the R &D programs of these companies and these companies reap the profits. Let their investors risk their own money, let their investors reap their own profits or losses -- and leave the rest of us alone.
That is called Freedom. It works, and it is time our nation put it back to work.
Amendment offered on June 5, 2012 by Congressman McClintock to H.R.5325 (Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act).