"The awards of $18.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for new nuclear plant projects remain held up by an ongoing dispute within the Obama administration over the financial risk the new reactors pose for the government and taxpayers, according to industry and government officials.
The struggle pits the Energy Department against the Office of Management and Budget, agencies that have been at odds since the loan guarantee program was approved in 2005. DOE will make the final decision on nuclear project loan guarantee requests. OMB has a pivotal say in determining the risk of loan defaults if the projects suffer cost overruns or cannot be completed.
The risk calculation is critical to a launch of the so-called "nuclear renaissance" because it determines how much upfront cash the nuclear project developer must pay to get the loan guarantee, which can cover up to 80 percent of the multibillion-dollar construction costs, for three of four new reactors."