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Obama unveils loan guarantees for 1st U.S. nuke plant in 3 decades.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 Kyodo

U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced $8.33 billion loan guarantees for the construction of the first U.S. nuclear power plant in more than 30 years, a move that could create opportunities for Japanese companies involved in building such facilities.

''We're going to have to build a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in America,'' Obama said in a speech at the Lanham, Maryland-based job-training center of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a labor union.

Promoting nuclear power generation will help create jobs and cut dependence on traditional power plants that count on fossil fuels such as oil, thus helping slash carbon dioxide emissions and stem climate change, he said.

''Nuclear energy remains our largest source of fuel that produces no carbon emissions. To meet our growing energy needs and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we'll need to increase our supply of nuclear power,'' he said.

''Japan and France have long invested heavily in this industry,'' Obama added.

He expressed resolve to nurture U.S. clean energy industries for wind, solar and nuclear power, while calling attention to the fact that there are 56 nuclear reactors being built worldwide, including 21 in China, six in South Korea and five in India.

The loan guarantees are for two nuclear units being planned by the Georgia-based Southern Co., a U.S. power utility. The two units will be located at Plant Vogtle in Georgia, where the company already owns and runs two nuclear units.

The new nuclear facilities will be the first to be built in the United States since it stopped breaking ground on new nuclear plants following an accident in 1979 at the Three Mile Island nuclear power generating station in Pennsylvania.

The two new nuclear units at the Vogtle plant ''will create thousands of construction jobs in the next few years, and some 800 permanent the years to come,'' Obama said.

Southern said the additions are expected to produce 3,500 jobs during construction.

Westinghouse Electric Co., a Toshiba Corp. subsidiary, has landed orders for the new nuclear units.

But the construction project may also give General Electric Co., which has joined hands with Hitachi Ltd., business opportunities, industry analysts said.
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Publication:Japan Energy Scan
Date:Feb 22, 2010
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