With the announcement, Vogtle became the first project to receive the federal loan guarantee since Congress established the program in 2005. Bowers said it would help save Georgia Power customers $250 million.
Critics cited safety concerns surrounding nuclear power plants, and pointed to the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant after an epic tsunami there. “Fewer than three years have passed since the tragedy at Fukushima demonstrated that nuclear reactors can never be safe,” said Katherine Fuchs of Friends of the Earth. “Yet the president and energy secretary are ignoring its lessons.”
But Moniz said the federal guarantee is part of a broader “all of the above” effort to offer a range of alternative energy sources that could lower carbon emissions.
“If we don’t move out with these kinds of projects, we won’t be ahead of the train,” said Moniz. “And we in the United States shouldn’t be running to catch up with the caboose.”