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Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - 12:17pm

Critics React to Federal Loan Guarantees for Nuclear Plant

The President announced today that more than $8 billion in federal loan guarantees will be made available to Southern Company to help build 2 nuclear reactors at Plant Votgle near Augusta. That means that if Southern Company defaults on loans taxpayers will be the ones footing the bill.

That’s a problem for Sarah Barczak of the Southern Alliance For Clean Energy. She says the loan guarantees put an unfair risk on taxpayers.

"Historically nuclear power plant projects have typically not, either been completed, or if they were completed they weren’t completed on time or on budget," Barczak said.

A 2008 report from the Government Accountability Office estimates the risk of default on nuclear projects as high as 50%. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says the DOE doesn’t believe that number is accurate.