U.S. nuclear lobby fired up and ready to go

By Laurie Bennett

March 13, 2011 at 1:23pm

Until recent days, things had been looking up for the U.S. nuclear industry.

President Obama’s proposed budget for 2012 includes $36 billion in loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is reviewing 20 applications from companies wanting to build new plants.

But as Politico points out, several members of Congress who had been tilting in favor nuclear energy are expressing doubts in the wake of the explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan.

The industry’s trade group, the Nuclear Energy Institute, immediately swung into crisis-response mode.

“At this point, I don’t think we’re going to see a major impact on the U.S. nuclear industry.” the group’s spokesman, Mitch Singer, told the Wall Street Journal.

The institute is poised to make its views heard in Washington, employing a battery of lobby shops whose ranks include five former members of Congress. (See the Muckety map above.)

The two powerhouses in its employ are Wesler & Walker and Baker Donelson. Even before the earthquake in Japan, the group had hired two new firms this year - Raffaniello & Associates and DS2 Group.

The Nuclear Energy Institute reported spending more than $1.7 million on lobbying in 2010.

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