Energy Dept. Set to Approve Loans for New Nuclear Power Plants
The Energy Department is poised to approve $6.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for the first nuclear power plants built from scratch in this country in more than three decades.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was expected to announce final approval of the deal at a speech on Wednesday, a day before he visits the $14 billion Vogtle nuclear plant now under construction in eastern Georgia.
Three government officials familiar with the deal confirmed its details Tuesday. They asked not to be identified because the deal has not been made public.
Atlanta-based Southern Co. is building the plant with several partners about 30 miles southeast of Augusta, Ga. The project is widely considered a major test of whether the industry can build nuclear plants without the endemic delays and cost overruns that plagued earlier rounds of building in the 1970s. Vogtle was originally estimated to cost around $14 billion, but government monitors have warned the final cost is likely to be higher.
The Energy Department tentatively approved an $8.3 billion loan guarantee for the project in 2010 as part of President Barack Obama‘s pledge to expand nuclear power and other energy sources.
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