By Steven Mufson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 1, 2010; 12:15 PM
The Energy Department would get the ability to guarantee an additional $36 billion in loans for the construction of new nuclear plants under President Obama's budget request, twice as much as the previous loan guarantee program. The loan guarantees would sharply reduce the financing cost of capital-intensive nuclear plants, and proponents hope it would help jump start an additional half-dozen nuclear power plants.
The budget would eliminate funding, however, for the long-discussed Yucca Mountain, Nev., repository for nuclear waste. The budget proposal says that Yucca "is not a workable option."
The 2011 budget would also increase by 10 percent spending on managing the nation's nuclear stockpile and naval reactors, boosting it to $8.1 billion, up $750 million from estimated spending in the current fiscal year.
The administration has also proposed $500 million in credit subsidies to support $3 billion to $5 billion in loan guarantees for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The Energy Department would boost spending by 4.6 percent for basic science and increase spending on energy research, both favorite areas of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist.
The Energy Department would also continue to spend money authorized by the 2009 stimulus bill, thus raising its actual outlays substantially.
For the full budget request, click here.