The Loan Arranger
U.S. plans to subsidize four new Chinese nuke plants
A nearly $5 billion proposed loan package from the U.S. government to British-owned Westinghouse Electric Corp. to build four massive nuclear reactors in China is encountering a flurry of objections. The objections are not about the nuclear waste that would result, or reactors’ vulnerability to terrorist attacks and catastrophic accidents. The problem? “British-owned.” As Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) put it, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which would provide the loans and loan guarantees, “is funded by U.S. tax dollars; they should be supporting U.S. companies. I’m not against U.S. jobs, but shouldn’t we be for U.S. companies?” Though the deal is expected to employ up to 5,000 U.S. workers to manufacture parts for the Chinese plants, critics point out that those jobs would cost the government about $1 million a pop. If Westinghouse does land the deal, though, said former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham last week, it could make their new nuke plant model easier to build in the U.S. (which could mean more jobs). Whoopee!