I guess this means "clean coal" plants are next? WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will announce on Tuesday plans for the government to help fi
February 16, 2010

I guess this means "clean coal" plants are next?

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will announce on Tuesday plans for the government to help finance the construction of two nuclear reactors -- the first in nearly 30 years, a top US official said.

Obama, who has advocated reducing foreign energy dependency and cutting back on greenhouse gases, will use a 2005 law that authorizes the Energy Department to guarantee loans to projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama "has long believed that nuclear power should be part of our energy mix," a senior administration told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The 18.5 billion dollars in existing loan guarantee authority will be used to help finance the construction and operation of two new nuclear reactors at a Southern Company plant in Burke, Georgia.

Here's the thing: Nuclear power plants take a while to earn back investors' money, and until then, they often operate at a loss. They cost so much money to run, they won't close down the Vermont Yankee plant to discover the source of a radioactive substance that's leaking into the Connecticut River.

But hey, who doesn't love radioactive drinking water?

And because nuclear power plants are privately owned, what's to stop holding companies from moving the ownership into riskier corporate entities they could use to file bankruptcy, allowing them to walk away without expensive liabilities in the event of a nuclear accident? Nothing, really.

If anything in this country should be nationalized, it should be high-risk power plants. It's just common sense that for-profit companies will always put profit over safety.

And remember, we can't assume there'll always be a Democratic administration to inspect nuclear power.

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