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Sen. Murkowski Welcomes New Nuclear Loan Guarantee

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Feb. 16 welcomed the Department of Energy's announcement that it was offering the first conditional federal loan guarantee for new nuclear plant construction to Southern Co.

"I applaud the Obama administration and the Department of Energy for moving forward on a loan guarantee agreement that could see construction of the first new nuclear power project in this country in more than 30 years," Murkowski said. "While there remain significant challenges to overcome to ensure the future of nuclear energy in this country, including finding a permanent solution to dealing with the nation's spent nuclear fuel, today's announcement is most welcome."

The $8.3 billion federal loan guarantee would allow Southern Co.'s subsidiary, Georgia Power, to build two advanced reactors at the Plant Vogtle power station in eastern Georgia. Construction of the power plants is expected to create roughly 3,000 construction jobs and more than 800 permanent operations jobs.

President Obama announced the loan guarantee on Tuesday during a speech in Maryland. The offer represents nearly half of the $18.5 billion for nuclear power in the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program, which was established by Congress in 2005.  

Sen. Murkowski said nuclear power offers the largest source of carbon-free power. A point echoed by President Obama in his comments Tuesday.

"We simply must expand our use of clean nuclear energy if we're going to solve both the challenge of climate change and our growing demand for affordable electricity," Murkowski said. "I'm encouraged that this signals the administration is broadening its approach to energy policy."

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