WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will announce on Tuesday plans for the government to help finance the construction of two nuclear reactors -- the first in nearly 30 years, a top U.S. official said.
Obama, who has advocated reducing foreign energy dependency and cutting back on greenhouse gases, will use a 2005 law that authorizes the Energy Department to guarantee loans to projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Obama "has long believed that nuclear power should be part of our energy mix," a senior administration told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The $18.5 billion in existing loan guarantee authority will be used to help finance the construction and operation of two new nuclear reactors at a Southern Company plant in Burke, Georgia.
There have been no new nuclear power plants built in the United States since the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the eastern state of Pennsylvania.
Currently only 20 percent of the country's energy needs are met by nuclear power.
The operation will result in some 3,000 construction jobs, and eventually some 850 permanent jobs, the official said, citing company figures.
According to the official, Obama's 2011 budget "triples loan guarantees for nuclear-power plants to more than $54 billion."
© AFP 2013