EWG urges Biden to reject electric utility executives’ call for more nuclear power subsidies in clean energy agenda

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is meeting today with top executives from several investor-owned electric utilities who want Congress to approve vital clean energy tax credits as part of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. But they are also seeking new federal subsidies for existing nuclear power plants that the Environmental Working Group is urging the president to oppose.

The Build Back Better plan is a broad infrastructure proposal and includes some important tax credits that the utilities support. They would help expand utility-scale solar projects and boost sales of electric vehicles, crucial steps in fighting the climate emergency.

But the call for wasting more federal tax dollars propping up uneconomic and dangerous nuclear power plants too is an outrageous request, noted EWG.

“Nuclear power is a relic of the electricity sector, and a dangerous and extremely expensive one that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “The federal government must stop throwing away money propping up the nuclear industry and instead make critical investments to expand safe, clean renewable energy.”

“President Biden and congressional leaders can and should unravel the federal government’s long history of pouring scarce resources into this failed industry and its legacy of radioactive waste and the enormous threat it poses to the public,” said Cook.

Nuclear power has never been financially viable and never will be, so new subsidies make no sense. It has the distinction of a permanent negative learning curve – costs always rise and never decline – despite 60 years of taxpayer-funded research and development, construction risks dumped onto ratepayers to lure private financing, a series of bailouts worth tens of billions to the industry, and billions wasted on upgrades to keep aging power plants running that could have been much more wisely spent replacing them. 

“It is time to systematically replace nuclear power with modern clean energy technology and to stop burdening ratepayers and taxpayers with this financial albatross,” said Cook. “Nuclear power is truly an example of privatizing profits and socializing risks.”

In its 2021“None of the Above” series calling out dirty and dangerous power sources that should quickly be replaced by clean, safe and renewable energy, such as solar and wind, EWG likened nuclear power to “nothing more than a public works project with no prospects for the future that has failed financially while generating huge amounts of radioactive waste, with no viable method of disposal, that will linger for thousands of years.”


The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action. Visit www.ewg.org for more information.

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