WASHINGTON—The House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee late yesterday approved a $33.3 billion energy and water development appropriations measure for fiscal year 2009 that, in the words of subcommittee Chairman Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), “addresses high fuel prices and climate change, sets us on a path toward energy independence (and) makes a major investment in critical infrastructure.” The following statement of reaction is from Nuclear Energy Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Frank L. (Skip) Bowman:
“Given the nation’s pressing need for clean, reliable sources of electricity, the nuclear energy industry is greatly encouraged by the appropriators’ decision to extend the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee authority by two years, through fiscal year 2011. The clean-energy loan guarantee program authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 will help encourage the construction of advanced nuclear power plants that avoid carbon emissions and provide electricity to help meet the U.S. economy’s baseload energy needs. I am personally pleased to see the committee also increased the loan guarantee authority for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
“Chairman Visclosky’s vision and leadership, and that of ranking member David Hobson, in recognizing the value of extending DOE’s loan guarantee authority to ensure that the loan guarantee program is implemented effectively for the good of the nation is particularly noteworthy and commendable.
“The availability of loan guarantees to facilitate debt financing on reasonable terms for the first wave of nuclear plant license applications will help reduce uncertainties surrounding these capital-intensive projects, and ultimately will lower the cost of the electricity produced by these new power plants to the consumer. Loan guarantees will not involve the expenditure of any federal tax dollars when the projects are successfully completed. That makes them a win-win-win for the environment, the economy and consumers.
“The industry also commends the appropriators’ decision to fully fund the Energy Department’s nuclear waste management program at the requested level of $494.7 million. The filing earlier this month of a license application for the planned Yucca Mountain, Nevada, repository is a major milestone that advances a key component of the integrated used-fuel management strategy.
“There are other programs included in the bill that also will prove their worth. For example, the panel’s $200 million for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant program is well above the Administration’s request. This program and the Nuclear Power 2010 program are important initiatives designed to develop the reactor of the future and to reduce the technical, regulatory and institutional uncertainties associated with construction of today’s new nuclear power plants.
“Government investment in these programs will help assure that nuclear energy remains a key component of the diversified, clean-energy portfolio that is needed to advance U.S. energy security and global environmental stewardship in the decades ahead.
“I salute Chairman Visclosky and Congressman Hobson for their leadership in simply doing what is right for the country in this bill.”