President Obama Announces Money for Nuclear Power Plant

President Obama is announcing funding to break ground on the first new nuclear power plant in nearly three decades.  In Lanham, Maryland Tuesday morning, Mr. Obama will announce the first loan guarantee for the construction and operation of two new nuclear reactors at a Southern Company plant in Burke, Georgia.

Southern Company says approximately 3,000 onsite construction jobs and approximately 850 permanent operations jobs will be created and the facility will power 550,000 homes.

A White House official says in announcing this funding, President Obama is making good on a commitment to meet Republians half way.  The official says “republicans who advocate for nuclear power have to recognize that we will not achieve a big boost in nuclear capacity unless we also create a system of incentives to make clean energy profitable.”

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized the Department of Energy to issue loan guarantees for projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions and employ new or significantly-improved technologies.  No nuclear loan guarantees have been issued since that legislation was passed.  One of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s top priorities have been to expedite the process to allocate the $18.5 billion in existing loan guarantee authority.

Nuclear power generates 20 percent of the United States’ electricity supplies.  The President’s FY11 budget triples loan guarantees for nuclear-power plants to more than $54 billion