Saturday, December 22, 2007

Nuclear Power Gets Loan Guarantees

The FY 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, contained within the FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill (H.R. 2764) continues the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program for two more years. The bill contains language directing the Secretary of Energy to provide $38.5 billion in loan guarantees, with a specific requirement that $20.5 billion be provided for nuclear energy, ($18.5 billion for nuclear reactors, $2 billion for uranium enrichment), $10 billion for renewable energy and energy efficiency, $8 billion for clean coal technology.

It is being projected that new nuclear plants will cost as much as $4 billion and will take at least 7 years to construct. The first six plants are being heavily subsidized by the federal government to assure a renaissance of new nuclear power plant construction. The loan guarantees are a very important component of the federal support. Nuclear companies are forming consortia and aggressively competing with each other for these subsidies. Front end construction and operation success will pave the way for the hundreds of nuclear power plants America needs to provide reliable electricity. Will African Americans have a role in this nuclear renaissance?

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