Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No Taxpayer-Backed Loans Unless Nuclear Plants Approved

In response to questions from House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) on the nuclear energy loan guarantee program, Department of Energy Secretary Chu has responded that conditional commitments could be made, but no loan guarantee will be issued with respect to a specific project and technology until the design is certified by the NRC and the construction and operating license has been issued.

Represntative Markey chairs the House Subcommitte of the Energy and Commerce Committee that has jurisdiction over DOE and the NRC. Secretary Chu’s response to Markey's letter was included in a letter intended to address concerns about DOE's soon-to-be announced winners of $18.5 billion in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to the nuclear energy industry. DOE is working towards conditional commitments for loan guarantees for nuclear energy designs, but a conditional commitment is not a guarantee; it simply sets forth the terms on which a guarantee may be issued. The funds would also have a time limit—or sunset—for the awardees if the conditions for receiving the funds are not met. (Ed Markey, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Press Release)

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