Friday, January 30, 2009

Senate Stimulus Includes $50 Billion For Nuclear Power

Update 2-12-09: The $50 billion for nuclear was taken out of the final bill.

The Senate economic recovery bill passed through the Appropriations Committee potentially includes up to $50 billion in loan guarantees for the nuclear-power industry. The House-passed version does not include loan guarantees for nuclear power. The legislative language leaves open the types of technology eligible for a government loan guarantee, as long as they substantially reduce greenhouse gases so guarantees for nuclear power could be used to fund new generation.

Many nuclear-power investors say that because of construction and liability costs, companies cannot build new generation without government guarantees or funding. The Congressional Budget Office has also said that the risk of default on the loan guarantees, given a raft of legal, procedural and environmental hurdles, exceeds 50%.

Under current law, the U.S. Department of Energy has the ability to guarantee around $18.5 billion in loans for new nuclear generation, but the industry believes the total amount for applications for current projects on the books would total more than $100 billion. (Morningstar)

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