WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama next week will announce a loan guarantee to build the first nuclear power plant in the United States in almost three decades, an administration official said Friday. The two new Southern Co. reactors to be built in Burke, Ga. are part of a White House energy plan administration officials hope will draw Republican support. Obama’s direct involvement in announcing the award underscores the political weight the White House is putting behind its effort to use nuclear power and alternative energy sources to lessen American dependence on foreign oil and reduce the use of other fossil fuels blamed for global warming
Obama called for “a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants” in his Jan. 27 State of the Union speech, and followed that by proposing to triple loan guarantees for new nuclear plants. Obama’s budget for the coming year would add $36 billion in new federal loan guarantees on top of $18.5 billion already budgeted – but not spent – for a total of $54.5 billion. That’s enough to help build six or seven new nuclear plants, which can cost $8 billion to $10 billion each.