Oil and Gas

U.S. DOE says $13 bln needed in nuclear loan help

   * Extra funding needed to cover 3 nuclear plant projects
* Congress could provide funds in supplemental budget votes
WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary
Steven Chu said on Wednesday that the Energy Department would
need an additional $13 billion in authority from Congress to
provide loan guarantees for building three new nuclear plants.
 The department in February awarded $8.3 billion in loan
guarantees to help build the first U.S. nuclear power plant in
nearly three decades.
 Chu told a Senate subcommittee that the $12 billion the
department had left in loan guarantee authority would be enough
to cover one more nuclear plant project that is seeking
government help.
 He said an additional $4 billion would allow a loan
guarantee for a second nuclear plant project and a third
reactor may be ready to seek a loan guarantee this year, but
the department would another $9 billion in authority for that
Senator Byron Dorgan said Congress will likely vote on
several supplemental budget bills this year and those measures
might provide an opportunity to add funding for additional
nuclear loan guarantees.
The Obama administration has asked the Congress for $54.5
billion in nuclear loan authority as part of its 2011 federal
budget, which would begin this Oct. 1.
The $8.3 billion loan guarantee awarded in February went to
help Southern Co SO.N build two reactors at an existing
nuclear power plant in the state of Georgia.
The three other projects on the department's loan guarantee
short list are Constellation Energy CEP.P for an additional
reactor at its Calvert Cliffs power plant in Maryland, NRG
Energy's NRG.N  proposal to build two reactors in Texas and
SCANA Corp's SCG.N  two-reactor expansion project at its
Summer nuclear power plant in South Carolina.
(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)