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Obama Has Big Plans for Nuclear Energy in 2013

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted February 15, 2012

President Obama has unveiled his fiscal budget for 2013 and it looks like the administration has a clear focus on investing in alternative energy, ramping up nuclear energy, and ending tax subsidies for big oil.

The administration proposed allocating $27.2 billion to the Department of Energy, a 3.2 percent increase of what congress allotted to the department last year.

$2.3 billion of which is to be put towards research and development for increased energy and efficiency, advanced vehicles and biofuels.

In a cover letter justifying the push for research and development in alternative energy, federal energy secretary Steven Chu wrote:

“The United States is competing in a competing in a global race for the clean energy jobs of the future”  

Chu went on to write that it would not be prudent of America to allow those jobs to land in the laps of its competitors.

Primarily, Obama intends to reinvigorate the nation’s fervor over alternative energy and revive its perception after the Solyndra debacle, which occurred last year.

Obama’s budget will extend key tax credits for renewable-energy production and clean-energy manufacturing.

The remaining $25 billion is to be distributed amongst America’s various nuclear divisions.

  • $150 million is will go into research and development of a new processing facility being constructed by the U.S Enrichment Corp.
  • The Office of Nuclear Energy would receive $770 million; the money is to promote the research and development of small modular reactors.
  • $60 million to perform essential research on developing more viable and sustainable battery storage systems.
  •  $11.5 billion to protect Americans by maintaining U.S. nuclear deterrence capabilities, designed to reduce   nuclear dangers in an increasingly volatile and unpredictable world. 

$8.33 billion is to be allocated to support the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s issuing of Combined Construction and Operating license to Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) to build the nation’s first nuclear reactors in 30 years.

After a series of high-Profile oil pipeline spills, $248 million has been proposed to go to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline Safety program, up $76 million from last year.

Obama’s budget also called for the annual stoppage of tax oil subsidies.

In each of his last three budget proposals Obama has called for an end to the roughly $4 billion dollars given to the oil industry either in subsides or tax breaks.

“It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that rarely has been more profitable, and double down on a clean-energy industry that has never been more promising,” said Obama when discussing the 2013 budget.

But it’s likely his words will fall upon deaf ears in Congress, as they have the last three times he has said them.

In the end its likely much of what Obama has proposed will be cut out of the budget by Congress, as they have last say on what will be and what will not be in the 2013 budget.

Many of the money to be allocated to alternative energy will likely be shifted elsewhere, in large part due to the Solyndra incident.

The only part of the budget likely to remain unchanged is the money going to the DOT’s Pipeline Safety Program, which many in congress feel can be used to foster and maintain the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.  

Until next time,


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