Wrapping up our discussions in the last few posts about the nuclear industry, here are some other fun facts about nuclear finance and loan guarantees:
1. The Energy Department is also handing out about $8 billion for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
2. France relies on nuclear power for 78 percent of its electricity while the United States relies on nuclear power for 19 percent of its electricity. But the United States, a much bigger economy, produces nearly twice as much energy from nuclear plants as France does.
3. "Loan guarantees from the Department will enable project developers to bridge the financing gap between pilot and demonstration projects to full commercially viable projects that employ new or significantly improved energy technologies," Jeffrey F. Kupfer, the Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy, said. But many critics wonder what is so new about the design of new nuclear plants.
4. Last October, Moody's delivered a downbeat assessment of the U.S. nuclear industry's prospects. In a report, it said:
"Moody's does not believe the sector will bring more than one or two new nuclear plants on line by 2015, a date cited by a majority of the companies currently highlighting their nuclear ambitions. The complexity associated with the permitting process as well as the execution risks associated with construction projects of this nature should not be underestimated.... Moody's believes that many of the current expectations regarding new nuclear generation are overly ambitious. In fact, the timing associated with commencing construction and making the next nuclear unit commercially available could be well beyond 2015 and the costs associated with the next generation of nuclear build could be significantly higher than the approximately $3,500/kW estimates cited by many industry participants."