WASHINGTON—The U.S Congress yesterday passed an appropriations bill (H.R. 2764) that provides significant funding for various nuclear energy programs totaling more than $970 million. Following is a statement from the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer, Frank L.(Skip) Bowman.
“The passage of the appropriations bill is good news for the nation. It provides significant U.S. Government-backed loan guarantees that will encourage the development of power plants that will provide large amounts of electricity to meet America’s energy needs and achieve environmental goals. We commend the bipartisan leadership of Congressmen Peter Visclosky and David Hobson and Senators Byron Dorgan and Pete Domenici that resulted in the passage of this legislation.
“The inclusion of the technology-neutral loan guarantees provision is a positive development. The loan guarantees do not represent an outlay of taxpayer dollars, yet should boost investor confidence and allow worthy projects to move ahead with debt financing on reasonable terms that will ultimately lower the overall cost of electricity.
“We are pleased that the Congress provided funding for the Nuclear Power 2010 program and the Next Generation Nuclear Plant initiative. They exemplify the benefits of a public/private partnership that will help resolve some issues surrounding the licensing of new nuclear plants and facilitate their construction.
“The Congress also appropriately looked to the future with funding to develop advanced nuclear fuels technologies for nuclear fuel recycling that could well reclaim nearly 90 percent of the energy contained in the used fuel while reducing the volume of waste by-products. In the long run, however, the nation still needs a permanent disposal facility for used fuel and defense waste. The Yucca Mountain funding reduction poses additional challenges to achieving that goal.”