DOE Loan Chief: We Remain Committed to Nuclear

The Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office will seek guidance from relevant nuclear agencies on lessons learned from the Japanese nuclear incident, but at this point, it remains committed to nuclear power as a part of a responsible clean energy future, said Jonathan Silver, the executive director of the DOE’s Loan Program Office, at the Cleantech Forum in San Francisco on Wednesday. (Silver will be speaking at our Green:Event on April 21 in San Francisco).

The sentiment echoes DOE Secretary Steven Chu’s cautious but steadfast comments supporting nuclear before the House Energy & Commerce committee.

The DOE Loan Program has issued a conditional commitment for a $8.33 billion loan guarantee to Georgia Power to build the first nuclear power plant in the U.S. in three decades. Silver noted briefly in his talk that the nuclear technologies used by Georgia Power will be different from the GE (s GE) Mark I, which are the type of reactors that are under going a partial meltdown in Japan right now, in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami.

Silver said the Loan Program expects to move forward with the Georgia Power nuclear plant, as well as additional nuclear projects. The Georgia Power project is still a conditional commitment, and the loan guarantees take months to finalize.

Silver reiterated that the DOE takes the events in Japan very seriously and is monitoring the outcome. For more reading on nuclear and Japan, see my Here Comes the Backlash to Japan’s Nuclear Disaster.

Image courtesy of rowens27.