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Markey to OMB: take a long, hard look at public funding for nuclear plants

The Fukushima disaster has raised new questions about the safety of U.S. nuclear plants and the Office of Management and Budget should look into whether there should be changes to the system of taxpayer-backed loans for nuclear power, U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) said Friday.

“Wall Street banks are unwilling to finance new nuclear power facilities, and as a result these projects are unlikely to go forward without the United States government providing billions of dollars in loan guarantee support,” Rep. Markey wrote in a May 6 letter to OMB Director Jacob Lew. “It is my belief that if any of these deals are to go forward, the terms of loan guarantees for nuclear power plants must be as transparent to the public as possible, they must fully incorporate all known market risks, and they must go as far as possible in protecting American taxpayers from having to bailout the nuclear industry in the event of a loan default.”

Markey asked OMB to explain how Fukushima has affected the way the agency views the risks of financing nuclear plants.

He also asked the agency whether the terms of a $8.6 billion conditional loan guarantee issued last year for a project in Georgia by the Southern Company will be reevaluated in light of Fukushima.

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