The Inter Press Service has reported that President Barack Obama's U.S. Department of Energy has offered Southern Company a "sweetheart deal" on federal nuclear loan guarantees for the Plant Vogtle Units 3 & 4 proposed new atomic reactors: a 0.5 to 1.5% credit subsidy fee, lower than college students pay on their federal student loans. These facts came to light thanks to a courtroom victory by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), which won a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ruling from a federal judge who ordered DOE to divulge the terms of the first and only federal taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantee yet conditionally awarded.
Remarkably, Southern Co. has been asked for a mere $17 to $52 million of "skin in the game," in exchange for $8.3 billion in federal taxpayer-backed nuclear loan guarantees for Vogtle Units 3 & 4 -- proposed Toshiba-Westinghouse AP1000s (1,100 Megawatt-electric "Advanced Passive" pressurized water reactors). If Southern and its partners default on their loan repayments, the federal taxpayer will be left holding the bag. To make matters worse, taxpayers are not only guaranteeing the loans, they are also providing the loans. The source of the loans, the U.S. Finance Bank, is federal taxpayer funded. Despite the nuclear loan guarantees, private investment banks have not touched the financially risky project. More.