U.S. Chamber's Energy Institute Comments on First Nuclear Loan Guarantee

Press Release
February 16, 2010

Today, the Obama Administration announced that it is issuing the first loan guarantee to construct a nuclear power plant.   The $8.3 billion loan guarantee will be granted for construction of two new reactors by Southern Company in Burke, Georgia.

The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy has been a vocal proponent of loan guarantees to help facilitate a rapid expansion of nuclear power.  Christopher Guith, vice president for policy at the Chamber’s Energy Institute, made the following statement about the announcement:

"We are very pleased by the Administration’s announcement that the Department of Energy (DOE) has finally issued its first conditional loan guarantee for two new state-of-the-art reactors at Southern Company's Vogtle Nuclear Site in Georgia.  Nuclear power must be at the center of our energy future if we are to meet growing energy demands and reduce carbon emissions.

“While the terms of this agreement have yet to be disclosed, this is a significant milestone that should be commended.  Federal loan guarantees are the single most important policy tool available to facilitate the construction of the country's largest source of emissions free baseload electricity. 

“This announcement comes on the heels of DOE's budget request to Congress earlier this month which includes authorization for an additional $36 billion in nuclear loan guarantee authority.  We are hopeful that Congress will provide this requested authority and DOE will continue to issue loan guarantees for additional reactors under existing authority .

“It should also be noted that an expansion of nuclear power will create thousands of American jobs.  In fact, if all 26 plants now pursuing licenses are built, they could support an estimated 240,000 direct and indirect jobs.  Jobs at nuclear plants pay 36 percent more than average salaries in the local area, which is all the more reason to utilize loan guarantees to help get these projects moving forward.”