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Trump tried to close federal loan program, but now wants it to fund Vogtle nuclear station!

To Save a Nuclear Plant, Trump Taps the Solyndra Loan Program He Tried to Cut, Bloomberg, By Ari Natter,  March 23, 2019,

  • $3.7 billion loan guarantee a key lifeline for nuclear project
  •  Aid to Southern Co. raises concerns with taxpayer watchdogs

President Donald Trump is dipping into a federal loan program that his administration has repeatedly sought to kill as a way to rescue a struggling nuclear power project in Georgia that critics say poses a credit risk to U.S. taxpayers.

The Trump administration announced Friday it’s finalizing a $3.7 billion loan guarantee for two nuclear reactors being built by Southern Co. Called Plant Vogtle, it’s the only nuclear facility under construction in the U.S. and one seen as vital for an industry that’s lagged due to competition from cheaper natural gas and renewable energy.

This is the real new green deal,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Friday during a visit to the site near Waynesboro, Georgia, alongside Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Southern Chief Executive Officer Tom Fanning. “If you want clean energy that helps your environment, there is no source that is cleaner than nuclear energy. This is it.”

The source of the aid is an Energy Department loan program that’s been in the cross-hairs of the Trump team since before his inauguration, when his transition team saw it as corporate welfare. Trump has asked Congress to ax the program for three years running, including in the budget submitted this month, arguing that financing provided by the fund should come from the private sector instead.

….. The aid to Southern and its partners building the plant comes on top of a record $8.3 billion in loan guarantees inked by the Obama administration for the project, bringing the total amount of exposure to taxpayers to $12 billion.

That’s raised concerns among watchdog groups and critics of the project, which is supposed to be completed in late 2022, who are questioning the wisdom of more government loans.

It would be a gross understatement to say this decision is fiscally reckless,” said Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a non-partisan group based in Washington. “Putting the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury behind a project after it’s been plagued by skyrocketing costs and multi-year delays is an unjustifiable handout to the well-heeled Southern Company and its partners. Throwing good money after bad is never good policy.”

Behind Schedule

The project, which is more than five years behind schedule and has doubled in cost to $28 billion, was dealt a major setback after contractor Westinghouse Electric Co. went bankrupt in 2017. Southern assumed responsibility for managing construction of the project after that……..

March 23, 2019 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA

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