With this nation facing a $15 trillion national debt, there is no shortage of opinions about how to move toward deficit reduction in the federal budget. One topic you will not hear discussed very often on Capitol Hill is the idea of ending one of the oldest American welfare programs -- the extraordinary amount of corporate welfare going to the nuclear energy industry.

Many in Congress talk of getting "big government off the backs of private industry." Here’s an industry we’d like to get off the backs of the taxpayers.

As a senator who is the longest-serving independent in Congress, and as the president of an independent and nonpartisan budget watchdog organization, we do not necessarily agree on everything when it comes to energy and budget policy in the United States. But one thing we strongly agree on is the need to end wasteful subsidies that prop up the nuclear industry. After 60 years, this industry should not require continued and massive corporate welfare. It is time for the nuclear power industry to stand on its own two feet.