Hugh Pickens writes "When President Obama said in his State of the Union address on Wednesday that the country should build 'a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants,' it was one of the few times he got bipartisan applause. Now the NY Times reports that administration officials have confirmed their 2011 federal budget request next week will raise potential loan guarantees for nuclear projects to more than $54 billion, from $18.5 billion, and a new Energy Department panel will examine a vastly expanded list of options for nuclear waste, including a new kind of nuclear reactor that would use some of it. The Energy Department appears to be getting close to offering its first nuclear loan guarantee. Earlier this week, Southern Co. Chief Executive David Ratcliffe said the company expects to finalize an application for a loan guarantee 'within the next couple months,' while Scana Corp., which has also applied, is 'a couple months behind Southern' and is hopeful of receiving a conditional award 'sometime in the next months.'"
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