The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office will make $12.5 billion in loan guarantees available for Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects, according to a press release posted this morning.
“With $40 billion of loan guarantee authority available to advance our all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Department’s Loan Programs Office has an opportunity to replicate its past successes, supporting innovative clean energy technologies that bring the U.S. closer to a low-carbon future,” said Secretary Ernest Moniz. “This solicitation will help the U.S. build the next generation of safe and secure nuclear energy projects by providing the critical financing needed for innovations that have not been widely deployed at commercial scale in this country.”
In the release, the Department identifies four key areas of interest for nuclear technology projects: advanced nuclear reactors, small modular reactors, uprates and upgrades at existing facilities, and front-end nuclear projects.
The move comes as part of the Obama Administration’s “all of the above” energy portfolio to meet America’s growing energy needs and “future low-carbon goals,” according to Peter W. Davidson, Executive Director of the Loan Programs Office.
This announcement rounds out the Loan Program Office’s available $40 billion. In addition to the $12.5 billion made available to Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects, the LPO has issued:
- An $8 billion Advanced Fossil Energy Projects Solicitation.
- A $4 billion Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects Solicitation.
- A $16 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program.
The $12.5 billion dedication does not guarantee that all $12.5 billion will be spent. Interested parties much apply for the loans, and the Office can allot up to the designated amount.
Such a large investment in nuclear energy may seems surprising to those still wary of the potential dangers of nuclear energy. However, Obama has long been in support of expanding America’s nuclear energy production as part of his “all of the above” strategy.
The surprising part of the announcement is not that the Obama Administration is soliciting new uses of nuclear energy; rather, the surprising part of the announcement is how much the Department and the Administration are willing to put towards nuclear energy. The $12.5 billion falls just short of the Advanced Technology Vehicle’s $16 billion and far above the $4 billion devoted to Renewable and Efficient Energy Projects.
Other nations around the world have embraced nuclear technology. Do you think it’s a good option for the United States?