The Department of Energy will extend $18.5 billion in loan guarantees to four utilities for construction of new nuclear power plants.
The lucky recipients are: UniStar Nuclear Energy, NRG Energy Inc., Scana Corp and Southern Co. according the Wall Street Journal. The official announcement has yet to be made.
With these loan guarantees the utilities are expected to begin construction sometime next year on seven new nuclear reactors. For decades, the nuclear industry in the U.S. has been at a standstill. This ought to kick it back into gear, and along with it hopefully create some new manufacturing jobs, as well as provide a low cost electricity supply.
With carbon taxation looming, nuclear power looks like a clean cheap alternative. Of course, there is still nuclear waste, which is a problem the government says it’s looking at.
Interestingly, these companies are also working with foreign governments to finance the construction of the reactors:
George Vanderheyden, CEO of UniStar Nuclear Energy in Baltimore, said UniStar is involved in “complicated negotiations” with the French government to secure export credit agency financing for at least 15% to 20% of project costs, which could approach $10 billion.
Some on the short list said they don’t intend to seek the maximum amount of aid. Scana said it will seek support for half the cost because it wants to limit its debt load. NRG intends to finance the project with 80% debt but hopes about a third would come from the Japanese government and half from the U.S. government.
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