Reports: Obama wants expanded nuclear loan guarantees

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Washington, D.C., January 29, 2010 — President Barack Obama will request tripling the amount of loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants to more than $54 billion, according to media reports.

Obama called for new government investment in the energy sector in his second State of the Union speech Wednesday, mentioning the need for more nuclear power plants prominently.

In the past, the president and Energy Secretary Stephen Chu have been reserved in their mentions of nuclear power, frequently expressing concern over the problem of long-term storage for the most hazardous forms of waste produced from nuclear power generation.

“To create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives,” Obama said in the address. “That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.”

According to reports, the Department of Energy is planning to form a panel to address the problem of storing nuclear waste.

The department will add $36 billion in funding for its 2011 budget for nuclear plant loan guarantees. There is $18.5 billion already approved for this program in 2011. The nuclear loan guarantee program began in 2005 to foster the further growth of the country’s nuclear fleet.

Nuclear power plants generate about 20 percent of the country’s electricity supply. There are 104 nuclear power plants licensed to operate in the U.S.

In March, 2009, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission received applications to build 26 new nuclear power reactors, with six reactors ordered.


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