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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 23, 2009 2:30am-3:00am EDT

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you had several attempts to build commercial reprocessing facilities at the time frankly, the nrc changed the rules in midstream. they said you had to go back and reconfigure. simultaneously, the overall economics began to fall out of the bottom as the saw new plants go by the wayside. it came to a point where it was franklin not given the time. it was not economic to build such -- it was not economical to build such a facility. from a public policy standpoint, president ford did it during the campaign and followed up by president carter. officially, president reagan came back and said to have that.
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but the economics have changed. they're barely comes down to price. >> i still when jimmy carter. >> thank you, senator. [laughter] >> the other problem that seems to stand away is economics. what are we going to do to make sure that senator alexander's bill is actually implemented once enacted? how much is it going to cost? what will we have to do to the permitting and regulatory process? are we going to have to enact some litigation shortcuts so that even when the agencies get on board and we have the money available it will not be tied up for decades in court?
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>> the best way to describe the economics is on a relative basis. there is the notion of a love allies to -- levellized cost of generation. that number is usually in dollars per megawatt power. a giveaway to compare whether this was cheap or expensive as a fuel source. -- it gives you a way to compare whether this was cheap or expensive as a fuel cores. there are the financing costs that are a function of the interest rate that you get. the hue are not deemed creditworthy, -- if you are not deemed creditworthy, it costs top dollar. by contrast, if you have a long delay even with low interest rates, the overall interest rates will be high because you will not realize revenue they would have without the delay.
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there is the overall question of what the capital costs are themselves. there are a lot of unknowns. if you do not have recent data. on what it costs to build a plant in this country with the labour force today, you do not know. there is a lot of speculation. there is a lot of estimating that has been going on. what is clear is that in the middle of a recession when the costs of everything have fallen, those numbers are going down as inopportune as it may look on the dollar to capital dollar basis, by contrast, nuclear power might beat $5,000 per kilowatt. -- might be $5,000 per kilowatt. your cost could be cheaper, especially if the fuel costs go up more for the other sources.
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>> we have got to compare the theoretical and the real world. senator alexander pointed out some in his speech at oak ridge that the attorney general of connecticut was complaining at one point that the nuclear power guys were making so much profit that they ought to put an extra windfall tax on them. i am looking at finland. finland is complaining. i am reading the words of the finnish government. the lower price and the fact that the nuclear plants do not have to fool with the carbon trading costs, they do not have the uncertainties that other people have, all of this means they are making unfair and unearned income. it has become so profitable.
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the french presumably share that situation. it is becoming so profitable that they ought to turn it back to the government. sweden is doing a similar thing. norway is doing it. in belgium, the government is no carrierringconnect 1200 250 n >> it is not exactly a fair comparison. france was facing the same decisions we were. they decided they did not want to be dependent upon foreign sources of energy anymore than we did. we have abundant supplies of
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coal and natural gas. they went the nuclear route. we have a complete government owned and regulated utility, it is easy to make those long-term decisions and stick with them. as mr. book talked about earlier, we allow the consumers to make the choice did we binge and purge and go from cheaper to more expensive. it is a very good. that the per kilowatt hour amortized is as cheap as anything. it brings about. that does not get talked about. one of the greatest policies we can look into is whether or not we can extend the life of the plants we have now. people talk about the efficiency being below hanging for its. those existing reactors are cash cows.
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the costs have been immortalized out. the costs are significantly cheaper than other fuel sources. the overall overhead for production is relatively cheap. it is obviously producing the zero commissions. -- is obviously producing zero emissions. they probably use more help from the appropriators appear. if there is a way to offer an additional life extension to 80 years so we do not have to take the plants offline 10 or 15 years from now -- that will be a big hole to dig ourselves out of. to me, that is the lowest hanging fruit of all. the upfront costs for nuclear power unquestionably are probably the most expensive of any power source. it is important to take that into account. these firms are private entities unlike the european
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countries we're talking about. they have to come up with a way to finance the plant of the magnitude of $10 billion. most of these utilities run an average of $30 billion. that is a big chunk of their overall worth. it would be negligent of any board to go all in with one technology and suck up your entire balance sheet over night. that is why i argued that loan guarantees are crucial. some of you have pointed out that it really comes down to cost of capital. that is what he equates the overall magic for the utility. if you are having to pay 30% more to borrow money because you do not have a loan guarantee, you're probably not going to make the decision to build. it is plain and simple. the merchant utilities have pretty much said that trade unless they get a loan
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guarantee, they are not building. you will see some reactors because some states allow them to build it into the base. at that point, they are guaranteed a return. they do not have to worry about being able to pass it on to the consumer because it is guaranteed through a regulatory body. if we want to see an expansion to the tune of 100 new reactors, we will have to ensure that it applies to more than just a handful of and finance it through their states. we have to be able to ensure that the merchant facilities or utilities also have the capacity through loan guarantees. that is the single greatest policy going right now. it is important that we see the cap expanded and some of the other bells and whistles evened out. >> thank you all very much. we have reached the witching hour. let me ask you two quick
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questions that can be answered yes or no. the first is whether the cap and trade regime is a good idea. mr. lieberman? ? mr. rockwell? >> i would save from an energy security perspective, probably not true >> the market's only work if you let them behave like real markets. >> all right. going to the point that mr. guith made. let's assume that the government does produce cap and trade and it produces a significant amount of income to the government, would it make sense to have that income dedicated to the building of nuclear plants? >> [inaudible]
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>> you cannot get past the note for capt. trade. -- you cannot get past the no for cap and trade. >> i would say that there are a myriad of places for it to go. we need to allow the markets to operate. we need to allow utilities to make the choice themselves. >> i think the money belongs in the technology agnostic loan guarantee program to secure clean energy. i think nuclear might rise to the top of the list right now and that it should win on its own merits. >> if you put it in a loan guarantee program and everyone makes the right decision on what to do with the money they get, it does not go to anybody. it might even be used to reduce the national debt. that is not a bad idea. >> a lot of people do not know this.
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50% of the electricity being produced right now by nuclear power plants is coming from uranium that was taken from russian warheads. 50%. 14,000 russian warheads, i have been told. it is actually coming from dismantled russian warheads there were aimed at u.s. cities. they are now producing 50% of the nuclear power. that is pretty wonderful. >> i keep telling my constituents that. they get upset about another issue that i will not go into. thank you all. it
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the economy, the federal deficit, and the stimulus package. after that, senator john mccain
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talks about foreign policy challenges the u.s. faces. then a conversation with linda douglass. later, bob schieffer of cbs news. washington journal begins each morning at 7 eastern -- at 7:00 a.m. eastern. on c-span 3, health care legislation. live coverage from the senate health committee begins at camp a.m. eastern. >> now, president obama signs a bill expanding the food and drug the administration's authority to regulate the sale and marketing of tobacco products this is about 10 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president and vice president of united states [applause]
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-- of the united states. [applause] óóóóóóóóóóóqo >> please, have a seat. i am thrilled to be here for what is an extraordinary accomplishment by this congress, the bill we are about to sign into law. i would like to acknowledge a few of our special guests. first off, we have the crew from the campaign for tobacco free kids. [applause] we have our fda commissioner, dr. peggy.
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we have our cdc director, and we have some extraordinary members of congress here on stage, senator dodd, senator bourbon, senator harkin, representative waxman, rep christiansen, and rep platz, all who did a big part to move this legislation forward. [applause] i want to thank all of them. there are three members of congress that i have to especially thank, representative waxman, representative dodd, -- senator dodd, and most
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importantly, senator ted kennedy who cannot be here today. [applause] and the legislation i am signing today represents a change that has been decades in the making. since the middle of the last century, we have known about the deadly effects of tobacco products. more than 400,000 americans now die of tobacco related illnesses each year, making it the leading cause of preventable deaths in the united states. more than 8 million americans suffer from at least one serious illness caused by smoking. these health problems caused us all more than $100 billion a year. what is even worse are the effects on our children. one out of every five children in our country are now current smokers by the time believe high school.
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think about that statistic. one out of every five children are smokers by the time the live -- leave high school. i know how difficult it can be to break the habit when it has been with you for a long time. i know that kids do not just start smoking for no reason. they are aggressively targeted as customers by the tobacco industry. they are exposed to a constant barrage of advertising where they live, where they learned and where they play. most insidiously, they are offered products with flavorings that mask the taste of tobacco and make it even more tempting. we have known about this for decades and despite the best efforts of so many leaders and advocates. the tabasco but the top -- the
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tobacco industry lobbies on the hill. when henry waxman first brought tobacco ceo's before congress, they denied that tobacco was deadly. nicotine was addictive, or that there marked reduced marketed tool -- to children. -- that their advertising marketed to children. 15 years later, their campaign has finally failed. today, thanks to the work of democrats and republicans, the decades-long effort to protect or children from the harmful effects of tobacco has emerged victorious. today, change has come to washington. this legislation will not ban all tobacco products and it will allow adults to make their own choices. it will ban tobacco advertising from within a thousand feet of
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the school. it will force these companies to more clearly and publicly acknowledged the harmful and deadly effects of the products they sell and it will allow the scientists at the fda to take other common-sense steps to reduce the harmful effects of smoking. this is a victory for bipartisanship and it was passed overwhelmingly in both houses of congress. it is a victory for health care reform as it will reduce some of the billions that we spend on tobacco related health care costs in this country. it is a law that will reduce the number of american children that pick up a cigarette and become a smoker. it is a law that will save american lives and make americans healthier. with the passage of this legislation, it is not complete. not just america but in the
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world. if current trends continue, 1 billion people will die from tobacco related illnesses the century. so, the united states will continue to work with the world health organization and other nations to fight this epidemic on a global basis. no matter how long or how hard this fight may be, what is happening today gives us hope. when i ran for president, i did so because despite the power of the status quo, it was possible for us to bring change to washington and the progress that we have made these past five months has only reinforced my faith in this belief. despite the influence of the credit-card industry, which passed a law to protect consumers from unfair wait hikes -- rate hikes. we passed a law to protect homeowners from mortgage fraud. despite the influence of the defense industry, which passed a law to protect taxpayers.
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and today, despite decades of lobbying and advertising by the tobacco industry, we passed a law to help protect the next generations of americans from growing up with a deadly habit that so many have lived with. when henry waxman open that first hearing back in 1994, he began by quoting an ancient proverb. a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. our journey for change is far from over, but with the passage of the kids tobacco legislation that i am about to sign, we're taking a very important step that will save lives and dollars. i want to thank members of congress and all the help advocates that fought so long for this to happen. we hope that you feel good about the extraordinary changes will
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bring to this country. >> thank you very much. let's go sign the bill. >> there we go. [applause]
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nabhan >> thank you guys.
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[applause] >> thank you guys. >> now, part of monday's white house briefing with secretary robert gibbs. topics include the announcement of a plan to cover medicare prescription blood costs -- mid
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costs. this is about 30 minutes. >> wow. >> let me just make a quick statement on something that the first lady is going to speak about this afternoon. today, the administration is kicking off the summer service initiative. it is a call to all americans to join in a volunteer effort this summer and build a new foundation for america one community at a time. it officially starts today and runs for the national day of service on september 11.
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they focus on key areas where everyone can have an impact on their communities. health care and energy renewal. the president and first lady of calling on all americans to go to the website, the first lady and senior administration officials are out across the country to mark this occasion. with that, questions? >> on the medicare prescription drug agreement, is there a glitch in that agreement? would that be why? >>


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