Trump Nuclear/Coal Bailout Could Cost Billions, Destroy Renewables

President Donald Trump - nuclear and coal power

Image: MIH83

Measures being considered by the Trump Administration to prop up nuclear and coal power in the USA have been described as radical, unprecedented and unsupported by any factual or empirical analysis.

Last week we mentioned U.S. President Trump had directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to prepare immediate steps to stop the retirement of ageing and ailing coal and nuclear power plants that are doing in tough in the face of competition from wind and solar power.

On the day of the announcement, a draft National Security Council memo was also leaked that reportedly outlines plans to order grid operators to buy electricity from coal and nuclear power stations, under emergency provisions in the Defense Production Act of 1950 and the Federal Power Act.

The Nuclear Information & Resource Service (NIRS) has put a price tag on the bailout, estimating it would cost end consumers USD $8-$17 billion over 2 years for the nuclear element and as much again for coal.

The NIRS says forcing the purchase of nuclear and coal power also would push out renewables, which are now employing more Americans than the coal and nuclear sectors combined.

Solar Jobs Census 2017 found 250,271 Americans working in the solar sector alone – twice as many workers as the coal industry, close to five times as many as nuclear power, and nearly as many workers in the nation’s natural gas industry.

“By pushing for a nationwide bailout for nuclear power and coal, the Trump administration is rushing headlong into an energy buzz saw, and they don’t even seem to know it,” said NIRS Executive Director, Tim Judson.

Former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Peter A. Bradford, says claims of threats to energy security used by the Trump Administration as justification for action were fairy tales.

“The Administration’s warnings of dire effects from power shortages caused by shortages of reliable and resilient generation are contradicted by all of the bodies with actual responsibility for assuring adequate supplies,” he stated.

This isn’t the first time President Trump has attempted to prop up coal and nuclear power during the 17 months of his presidency. Last year, he pushed for a $140 billion bailout for around a hundred nuclear and coal plants in the Midwest and Northeast of the country, an effort denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

President Trump certainly doesn’t hide the fact he’s a supporter of the coal sector. In February this year he declared having “ended the war on beautiful, clean coal“.

The use of that “beautiful, clean coal” in America has been estimated to cost the nation’s health care system anywhere from USD $350 billion to $880 billion per year.

In related news, it seems President Trump’s solar tariffs have seen renewable energy developers in the USA shelving more than $2.5 billion in solar energy projects and cost thousands of potential jobs.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Trump will do whatever it takes to hold onto power and he understands the importance of the battleground states.

    The Democrats need to send all their leaders and advisers to live in battleground states for a year and to formulate policies that will win the battleground states. They have to understand the disproportionate power of the smaller states, gain a deep understanding of what motivates the thought leaders and voters who live in them and formulate policies to win them without losing too many voters in safe democrat states.

  2. Bret Busby says

    “U.S. President Trump had directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to prepare immediate steps to stop the retirement of ageing and ailing coal and nuclear power plants”

    “ageing … nuclear power plants” ?

    It seems that president chump (is it true that he is the father of Idi Amin?) is determined to create a Chernobyl crisis or twelve, in the USA, by keeping aging nuclear power stations operating, beyond their “use by dates”.

    Maybe, he just wants to nuke the USA, after all, he is a rushin agent, and, he figures that the fallout will drift down to Mexico, and stop the Mexicans from, well, doing anything, because he does not like exotic food, and only likes USA fried food.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      If it makes you feel better, no reactors in the US follow the design used at Chernobyl.

      And only about 23 are of the type used at Fukushima.

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