"The Obama administration is planning to propose tripling a program that provides loan guarantees to construct nuclear reactors, an administration official said Friday, aiming to reach out to Republican lawmakers in an effort to break a logjam over energy policy.
The Obama administration will seek loan guarantees totaling about $54 billion, the official said. That is up from the $18.5 billion authorized. The details are to be unveiled Monday when the White House makes a fiscal 2011 budget request.
The proposal comes after the U.S. Energy Department announced Friday that it has asked former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Democrat, and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft to lead a panel charged with developing a long-term solution for managing the nation's used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. The panel, which will be charged with developing an interim report within 18 months and a final report within 24 months, will also include Exelon Corp. (EXC) Chief Executive John Rowe, former Republican senators Pete Domenici and Chuck Hagel, and representatives of major labor and environmental groups.
The Obama administration has been promising for almost a year to create such a panel after deciding that a central repository for storing waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada was not an option. The Nevada site has been opposed for years by that state's political establishment, most notably Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), who is facing a difficult reelection campaign this year."