US Agency Gave Nuclear Industry 'Sweet Deal': Documents

According to documents revealed by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), the US Department of Energy (DOE) handed a secret 'sweetheart deal' to Southern Company, a large utility company. The deal includes loan guarantees for two new nuclear reactors proposed for Plant Vogtle in Georgia.

SACE won a two-year legal battle to secure documents from the DOE under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents show the DOE is willing to charge Southern Company a credit subsidy fee at a major discount compared to average rates, at the expense of Georgia taxpayers, according to Inter Press Service.

"There's a look (among the documents) that shows the utilities were involved in the negotiations. This is taxpayer dollars, (but) taxpayers were not privy to these negotiations," stated Sara Barczak, program director for SACE's High Risk Energy Choices program. "Taxpayers would never have learned of this sweetheart deal and how Southern Company seems to have had a hand in the agreement," she said.

"I'm not going to comment specifically on the rate," Steve Higgenbottom, a spokesman for Southern Company, told IPS.

The utility company has not yet officially accepted the loan guarantees.

If the reactors come online in the coming years, they will be the first new reactors in the US in decades.

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