Energy Department to Approve Billions in Nuclear Backing

Aerial view of the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant. Existing reactors (#1 and #2, domed structures in center) and cooling towers (on the right). The construction site for reactors #3 and #4 is on the left.  
National Journal
Amy Harder
Add to Briefcase
Amy Harder
Feb. 18, 2014, 9:53 a.m.

En­ergy Sec­ret­ary Ern­est Mon­iz will an­nounce Wed­nes­day that he is giv­ing fi­nal ap­prov­al for a mult­i­bil­lion-dol­lar loan guar­an­tee for the first nuc­le­ar re­act­ors to be built in the U.S. in more than 30 years, ac­cord­ing to a source fa­mil­i­ar with the news.

The li­censee for the re­act­ors, South­ern Com­pany, re­ceived con­di­tion­al ap­prov­al of the $8.3 bil­lion loan guar­an­tee in Feb­ru­ary 2010. Once made fi­nal, the loan will help sup­port con­struc­tion of two new re­act­ors at the com­pany’s Vo­gtle plant in Waynes­boro, Ga.

The loan con­di­tion­ally ap­proved in 2010 was ac­tu­ally a set of three re­lated loan guar­an­tees, total­ing $8.3 bil­lion. Ac­cord­ing to an­oth­er source fa­mil­i­ar with the pro­ject, Mon­iz will an­nounce Wed­nes­day that two of the three loan guar­an­tees are go­ing to close on Thursday, total­ing $6.5 bil­lion. The last con­di­tion­al loan guar­an­tee, worth about $1.8 bil­lion, is still pending.

The En­ergy De­part­ment did not provide a com­ment on the re­cord.

Nuc­le­ar power ac­counts for about 20 per­cent of the na­tion’s elec­tri­city and re­leases no car­bon emis­sions, but the in­dustry has faced a host of reg­u­lat­ory, policy, polit­ic­al, and eco­nom­ic chal­lenges over the past few dec­ades.

The Three Mile Is­land in­cid­ent in 1979 largely slowed the once-prom­ised nuc­le­ar renais­sance in the coun­try, and in 2011 the Fukushi­ma Daii­chi nuc­le­ar dis­aster in Ja­pan set back the in­dustry glob­ally. Polit­ic­ally, some en­vir­on­ment­al groups and law­makers — mainly Demo­crats — don’t think nuc­le­ar power should be part of a clean-en­ergy mix giv­en the as­so­ci­ated risks and be­cause Wash­ing­ton is no closer to an­swer­ing the linger­ing ques­tion of where to store the nuc­le­ar waste.

Per­haps more than any of these con­cerns, however, cheap nat­ur­al gas has made it much more eco­nom­ic­ally dif­fi­cult for nuc­le­ar power, with its high up-front cap­it­al costs, to com­pete in the elec­tri­city mar­ket.

COR­REC­TION: An earli­er ver­sion of this story in­cor­rectly stated the amount of the loan guar­an­tee to be an­nounced Wed­nes­day. It is $6.5 bil­lion.

What We're Following See More »
BIGGEST SHAKEUP OF ALL?
Bannon Is Out at the White House
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

First, it was Sean Spicer. Then Reince Priebus. Now, presidential adviser Steve Bannon, perhaps the administration's biggest lightning rod for criticism, is out. “White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.” That's not to say the parting of ways isn't controversial. Bannon says he submitted his resignation on Aug. 7, but earlier today, "the president had told senior aides that he had decided to remove Mr. Bannon."

Source:
INITIATIVE TARGETED GUN RETAILERS, OTHERS
Trump Ends Obama’s “Operation Choke Point”
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Trump administration has ended Operation Choke Point, the anti-fraud initiative started under the Obama administration that many Republicans argued was used to target gun retailers and other businesses that Democrats found objectionable. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told GOP representatives in a Wednesday letter that the long-running program had ended, bringing a conclusion to a chapter in the Obama years that long provoked and angered conservatives who saw Choke Point as an extra-legal crackdown on politically disfavored groups."

Source:
LIBERALS RAISE CONFLICT OF ISSUE QUESTIONS
Gorsuch to Deliver Speech at Trump Hotel
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Liberal groups are raising questions about a speaking appearance Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch plans to make next month at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Gorsuch is scheduled to headline a luncheon celebrating the 50th anniversary of conservative group The Fund for American Studies on September 28, days before the next SCOTUS term begins October 2. Steve Slattery, a spokesman for The Fund for American Studies, said Gorsuch had nothing to do with venue choice, which was made long before the group asked Gorsuch to speak."

Source:
SAYS TRUMP JUST ATTACKING REPUBLICANS
Former Top Aide to McConnell Says GOPers Should Abandon Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE HISTORY, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT”
Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Tweetstorm
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login