WASHINGTON, D.C.—In fiscal 2010 supplemental spending legislation, the U.S. House of Representatives last night approved the Obama Administration’s requested increase of $9 billion in federal loan guarantees for companies building new nuclear power plants and $9 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy projects. The increased loan volume for new nuclear energy facilities would be derived by accelerating access to a portion of the $36 billion requested by the Obama Administration in its fiscal 2011 budget. Following is a statement from Alex Flint, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president of governmental affairs.
“At a time when the nation’s energy and environmental challenges are as urgent and obvious as they have been in a generation, NEI is greatly heartened by this effort by the Administration and Congress to accelerate development of the low-carbon nuclear energy facilities that our nation needs. Support for this provision by a broad array of members but, in particular, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer and Majority Whip Clyburn is especially noteworthy. They are setting the nation on a course of greater energy security and more solid economic footing by working to ensure that nuclear energy plays an even more positive role in America’s energy future.
“The supplemental funding will ensure adequate loan volume for the Department of Energy to provide a financial backstop for additional nuclear energy projects under the clean energy loan guarantee program authorized by Congress in 2005. The loan guarantees will allow the sponsors of these important projects to access debt financing at reduced interest rates that ultimately will lower the overall cost of electricity to the consumer.
“It also will act as an economic multiplier by creating 2,000 to 3,000 jobs at peak construction at each new nuclear plant and 400 to 800 permanent jobs once these plants begin operation.
“The loan guarantee program for nuclear plants is financed by the nuclear industry at no cost to the American taxpayer. We encourage the Senate to act expeditiously to pass this provision. Construction of these new nuclear plants will enable the nation to meet rising electricity demand and challenging environmental goals.”
r vice president of governmental affairs.