January 31, 2011
By MATTHEW L. WALD
New York Times
WASHINGTON — In his State of the Union address, President Obama proposed giving the nuclear construction business a type of help it has never had, a role in a quota for clean energy. But recent setbacks in a hoped-for “nuclear renaissance” raise questions about how much of a role nuclear power can play.
Of four reactor projects identified by the Energy Department in 2009 as the most likely candidates for federal loan guarantees, only two are moving forward. At a third, in Calvert Cliffs, Md., there has been no public sign of progress since the lead partner withdrew in October and the other partner said it would seek a replacement.
And at the fourth, in Texas, a would-be builder has been driven to try something never done before in nuclear construction: finding a buyer for the electricity before the concrete is even poured. Customers are not rushing forward, given that the market is awash in generating capacity and an alternative fuel, natural gas, is currently cheap.
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