O'Reilly Spins for Nuclear Power

"The American worker is really getting smashed," Fox News star Bill O'Reilly declared on May 17, striking a populist chord on rising energy prices.

True enough.

But moments later, he offered a bogus solution: "Nuclear power is not an option anymore. It's a must."

O'Reilly's enthusiasm flows from his belief that nuclear power is cheap. On May 1, he cited figures from the Utility Data Institute to prove it.

But what O'Reilly failed to tell viewers is that those estimates -- also touted by the nuclear industry -- ignore construction costs, which account for 60 percent of nuclear energy's total price tag. Add this and O'Reilly's cheap-power theory crumbles.

If O'Reilly had the interests of ordinary Americans in mind, he'd reject nuclear power.

Here's why:

The libertarian Cato Institute agrees with environmentalists -- nuclear power is uneconomical and cannot survive without huge taxpayer subsidies.

No private company will insure reactors, so Congress has made taxpayers liable for the worst disasters. Federal regulators found half of the nuclear plants tested were vulnerable to terrorist attack or sabotage.

Taxpayers shoulder the cost of storing the nuclear industry's waste. Serious concerns remain about the safety of the government's Nevada dumpsite, now under construction. If it ever opens, highly radioactive waste will travel our highways and byways to get there, putting millions of Americans at risk.

Building new nukes will siphon investment away from energy efficiency and renewable power projects, which lower consumer energy bills, create more jobs per dollar invested, and have none of the risks of nuclear power.

O'Reilly calls his show a "no-spin zone." But ignoring facts like these amounts to nuclear-industry spin.

It betrays the ordinary Americans O'Reilly purports to champion.