Monday, January 25, 2010

U.S. Nuclear Renaissance: $18.5 Billion Federal Stimulus

The Obama administration is about to announce $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for four nuclear plants (probably Southern Co, Constellation Energy, NRG Energy and SCANA Corporation). This is almost $5 billion per plant and will go a long way towards attracting financing to build plants estimated to cost at least $10 billion each. There are numerous other government subsidies for nuclear power too. The Center supports nuclear power and the subsidies. The Center was the first environmental group in the United States to publicly support nuclear power and remains the only environmental group that actively supports the technology.

Of course, Department of Energy Secretary Stephen Chu expressed in a response letter to House Climate Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey that no guarantees will be available until and unless the nuclear plants are approved for construction. The $18.5 billion is not part of President Obama's stimulus package but comes from the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was signed into law by President Bush on August 8th of that year. The Center attended that bill signing in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a special guest of The White House.

Judy Pasternak has written an interesting article for McClatchy, "Lobbying, Global Warming Portend U.S. Nuclear Renaissance," on the possible nuclear power renaissance. Pasternak, formerly a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, wrote the article under contract with the Investigative Reporting Workshop , a project of the School of Communication at American University in Washington. (Yahoo News, 1/24/10, drawing courtesy WSJ)

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