Nuclear Renaissance: Southern Co. Gains Key DOE Backing

By February 16, 2010Energy, Global Warming

A news release from Southern Co., “Southern Company Receives DOE Support for Nation’s First Nuclear Units in 30 Years.” Excerpt:

ATLANTA, Feb. 16 — Southern Company today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has offered its subsidiary Georgia Power a conditional commitment for loan guarantees for the construction of the nation’s first nuclear power units in more than 30 years, a move designed to help spur a renaissance in America’s nuclear industry.

“We are honored by the administration’s confidence in our ability to build the nation’s first new nuclear power plant in more than three decades,” said Southern Company CEO David Ratcliffe, following an event at which President Obama and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced the award. “It’s an important endorsement in the role nuclear power must play in diversifying our nation’s energy mix and helping to curb greenhouse gas emissions.”

President Obama and Secretary Chu announced the commitment for the loan guarantees at a news conference held at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26 in Lanham, Md.  Ratcliffe was joined at the event by Georgia Power CEO Mike Garrett, Southern Company COO Tom Fanning, Southern Nuclear CEO Jim Miller and Southern Company Executive Vice President Chris Womack.

President Obama’s remarks announcing the loan guarantees today in Lanham, Md.

[Through] the Department of Energy and Secretary Chu’s leadership, we are announcing roughly $8 billion in loan guarantees to break ground on the first new nuclear plant in our country in three decades — the first new nuclear power plant in nearly three decades.  (Applause.)

It’s a plant that will create thousands of construction jobs in the next few years, and some 800 permanent jobs — well-paying permanent jobs — in the years to come.  And this is only the beginning.  My budget proposes tripling the loan guarantees we provide to help finance safe, clean nuclear facilities -– and we’ll continue to provide financing for clean energy projects here in Maryland and across America.

Department of Energy news release, “Obama Administration Announces Loan Guarantees to Construct New Nuclear Power Reactors in Georgia

UPDATE (5:10 p.m.): From Clean Skies News, video of the President’s remarks.

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