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Democrats split on Trump plan to use development funds for nuclear projects

Democrats split on Trump plan to use development funds for nuclear projects, The Hill, BY REBECCA BEITSCH – 07/13/20   Democratic lawmakers are split over a Trump administration proposal that would allow international development funds to be used for overseas nuclear projects.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corp. (DFC), a fledgling government fund with an aim to alleviate poverty, has proposed lifting the longtime ban it inherited from its predecessor that bars funding for any nuclear projects.

Proponents say nixing the ban, originally conceived to limit the risks of nuclear proliferation, will allow the U.S. to help provide nuclear power to countries that will need more energy to grow their economies.

But opponents of removing the prohibition see a number of issues arising if the ban is lifted, including how to handle spent nuclear fuel, the potential for money to be funneled away from poorer nations and the challenge of dealing with risky and expensive projects.

“International nuclear power projects described by DFC are not a cost-competitive form of zero-carbon energy, remain unproven, will divert funds from higher-priority low-income countries, and are not supported by other development banks,” Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in a letter to the DFC on Friday.

“DFC financing of overseas nuclear reactors may offshore the physical risks associated [with] nuclear power, but they would keep U.S. taxpayers on the hook for the steep financial ones,” the senators added. ………

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) along with seven other Democratic lawmakers, called the ban “outdated because of advances in nuclear technology.”…….

Lifting the DFC’s prohibition against financing nuclear power would likely direct more funding toward wealthier countries, instead of to the countries that the DFC was created to help,” Markey and Sanders wrote in their letter, pointing to Eastern Europe and the Middle East……… The DFC should not be dedicating its limited financing to unproven technologies that present both safety and security risks. Pushing experimental research and development is not part of the DFC’s mandate.”……


July 13, 2020 - Posted by | politics, USA

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