This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 15, 2008

Requests for Nuclear Loan Guarantees Far Exceed Funds

Electric utilities and energy companies hope to build 21 new nuclear reactors at 14 nuclear power plants, but their plans may be stymied by a lack of available credit. Most industry experts believe that federal loan guarantees are necessary to help rejuvenate the stalled nuclear power industry, which hasn't built a new nuclear reactor in three decades. With that in mind, the DOE Loan Guarantee Program offered $18.5 billion in loan guarantees in a June solicitation, but the received applications add up to $122 billion, or more than six times the available loan guarantees. DOE will request more detailed applications to help select which projects will receive the loan guarantees.

The $122 billion figure represents just 65% of the total cost of $188 billion for the 21 reactors. That works out to nearly $9 billon per reactor. The 21 reactors would provide an additional 28,800 megawatts of nuclear power capacity, for an average capacity per reactor of 1,371 megawatts, at a cost of about $6.6 million per megawatt. See the DOE press release.