Obama pledges $8 billion for nuclear power plant
Seeking common ground with Republicans on energy and climate issues, President Obama on Tuesday pledged $8 billion in loan guarantees needed to build the first U.S. nuclear power plant in nearly three decades.
The move, along with a tripling of nuclear loan guarantees in the president's budget, represents a new federal commitment to the low-carbon-emitting, but highly controversial, nuclear power sector long championed by the GOP.
Industry groups and Republican leaders praised the announcement, which has been expected for months, but some environmentalists and free-market think tanks protested.
Speaking at a training center at the Lanham, Md., headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26, Obama spoke favorably of nuclear power as part of a mix of energy alternatives to oil.
"In order to truly harness our potential in clean energy, we'll have to do more," Obama said. "In the near term, as we transition to cleaner energy sources, we'll have to make tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. We'll need to make continued investments in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies, even as we build greater capacity in renewables like wind and solar.
"And we'll have to build a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in America," he said.