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Energy Department backs $3.7B in loans for Georgia nuclear plant

Energy Department backs $3.7B in loans for Georgia nuclear plant
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

The Trump administration is planning to issue loan guarantees worth up to $3.7 billion for a troubled nuclear plant construction project in Georgia.

The loan guarantees to Southern Co. and other companies involved in the construction of two new units at Plant Vogtle are in addition to the $8.33 billion the Energy Department has already issued in loan guarantees.

The Plant Vogtle units are now the only nuclear power units under construction in the United States.

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The project is at least three years behind schedule and $3 billion over budget, and Westinghouse Electric Corp., the company overseeing the construction, pulled out this year after filing for bankruptcy.

Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy: Political appointee taking over as Interior IG | Change comes amid Zinke probe | White Houses shelves coal, nuke bailout plan | Top Dem warns coal export proposal hurts military Overnight Energy: Political employee to replace Interior inspector general amidst investigations| White House pauses plan to bail out coal and nuclear| Top Armed Services Dem warns Trump coal plan on military bases could hurt national security The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump, Stormy Daniels trade fire on Twitter | Three weeks to midterms | Pompeo meets Saudi king MORE said the decision to put more support into the project helps a power source that is resilient and strengthens the economy.

“I believe the future of nuclear energy in the United States is bright and look forward to expanding American leadership in innovative nuclear technologies,” Perry said in a statement.

“Advanced nuclear energy projects like Vogtle are the kind of important energy infrastructure projects that support a reliable and resilient grid, promote economic growth, and strengthen our energy and national security.”

It was the Energy Department’s second big announcement of the day in support of nuclear power.

Earlier Friday morning, Perry formally asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to implement a regulation that would allow nuclear and coal plants to charge more money for their electricity, an attempt to stop plants from closing.