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 »
TWO MONTHS AFTER REFUSING AT CONVENTION
Cruz to Back Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST
WHO TO BELIEVE?
Two Polls for Clinton, One for Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST

With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:

  • An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clin­ton lead­ing Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary John­son at 7%.
  • A Mc­Clatchy-Mar­ist poll gave Clin­ton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way bal­lot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
  • Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
NO SURPRISE
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Source:
TRUMP NO HABLA ESPANOL
Trump Makes No Outreach to Spanish Speakers
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."

Source:
$1.16 MILLION
Clintons Buy the House Next Door in Chappaqua
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."

Source:
×