The US Department of Energy (DOE) has received 19 Part I applications from 17 electric power companies for federal loan guarantees to support the construction of 14 nuclear power plants in response to its June 30, 2008 solicitation. The applications reflect the intentions of those companies to build 21 new reactors, with some applications covering two reactors at the same site.
All five reactor designs that have been certified, or are currently under review for possible certification, by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) are represented in the Part I applications. DOE also has received Part I applications from two companies for federal loan guarantees to support two different Front-End Nuclear Facility Projects.
The nuclear industry is asking the Department to provide loan guarantees in the amount of $122 billion, which significantly exceeds the $18.5 billion in loan guarantees available under the June 30, 2008 Nuclear Power Facilities solicitation. The aggregate estimated construction cost of these 14 projects is $188 billion.
If all projects are constructed, they would add 28,800 MW of base load electric generating capacity. DOE also has been asked to provide loan guarantees in the amount of $4 billion for Front End Nuclear Facility Projects, which exceeds the $2 billion in loan guarantees made available for this type of project in the June 30, 2008 solicitation.
The authority to offer and enter into loan guarantees for nuclear power projects and front end nuclear facilities was granted by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008. Similar authority was also granted under that Act for loan guarantees for renewable energy and fossil energy projects for an overall total of up to $38.5 billion. Pursuant to this authority, DOE issued solicitations on June 30, 2008 for up to $30.5 billion for energy efficiency, renewable energy and advanced transmission and distribution technologies; nuclear power facilities; and advanced nuclear facilities for the ‘front-end’ of the nuclear fuel cycle. DOE issued a subsequent solicitation on September 22, 2008 for up to $8 billion to support coal-based power generation, industrial gasification and advanced coal gasification facilities projects that employ advanced technologies that avoid, reduce or sequester emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.