WASHINGTON – The Obama administration’s planned loan guarantee to build the first nuclear power plant in the United States in almost three decades is part of a broad shift in energy strategy to lessen dependence on foreign oil and reduce the use of other fossil fuels blamed for global warming.
President Barack Obama called for “a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants” in his Jan. 27 State of the Union speech and followed that by proposing to triple loan guarantees for new nuclear plants. He wants to use nuclear power and other alternative sources of energy in his effort to shift energy policy.
Obama next week will announce the loan guarantee to build the nuclear power plant, an administration official said Friday. The two new Southern Co. reactors to be built in the state of Georgia, are part of a White House energy plan that administration officials hope will draw Republican support.
Loan guarantees for other sites are expected to be announced in the coming months, the official said, who would speak only on condition of anonymity ahead of Obama’s announcement. The federal guarantees are seen as essential for construction of any new reactor because of the huge expense involved. Critics call the guarantees a form of subsidy and say taxpayers will assume a huge risk, given the industry’s record of cost overruns and loan defaults.
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