February 25, 2010


Cameco, the world's No. 2 uranium miner, earned C$598 million ($566.8 million), or $1.52 a share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. That compared with C$31 million, or 8 cents a share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned C$248 million or 63 cents a share.

This was driven by higher profits in gold, as realized selling price for gold stood at $1,129 per ounce in 2009 compared with $806 per ounce in 2008, the company said.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected on average a profit of 46 Canadian cents a share, before exceptional items.

Quarterly revenue rose 3 percent to $659 million.

Uranium revenues fell 2 percent in the period, as a 5 percent decline in sales volumes was countered by the impact of a 2 percent increase in our realized price, the company said.

Costs of sales for the quarter was C$30.29 up from C$24.16.

Cameco mines uranium primarily from its home province of Saskatchewan in Western Canada, as well as Kazakhstan and the United States.

Its main project is the Cigar Lake deposit in Saskatchewan, which flooded in 2006 and 2008 while under construction.

This month, the company said it had pumped out the flooded mine and should have it secure by October, at which point Cameco will be able to start looking ahead to a restart of construction.

The company said it is well positioned to meet its goal to double its annual mined output to about 40 million pounds by 2018.

February 23, 2010


Microsoft founder Bill Gates is calling for "energy miracles" to help achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Speaking at the annual TED Summit in the US last week, he said that developed nations will need to completely decarbonize the energy they use within 40 years to avert the worst effects of climate change.

He added that reducing carbon emissions by between 50% and 80% by 2050 will be insufficient and more investment in researching green technologies is needed to help meet more ambitious targets.

However, he said that current levels of spending on zero carbon technologies are "ridiculously" low.

Mr Gates is himself investing in a nuclear technology project, an area he claims is often ignored by green tech investors.

The TerraPower project is a new Traveling Wave Reactor that promises to generate power from waste radioactive material. It burns uranium waste slowly, meaning a 60-year supply could be added to a reactor at once and not touched for decades.

According to Mr Gates, spent uranium supplies in the US alone could power the nation for 100 years.

TerraPower: How The Traveling Wave Nuclear Reactor Works

Well, first off TerraPower is a nuclear spinoff project from incubator Intellectual Ventures. Former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold founded Intellectual Ventures, and Bill Gates is a principal owner of TerraPower. TerraPower uses a “traveling wave reactor design,” which is technology that has been researched since the 1990’s, but according to MIT Tech Review TerraPower is the first company to “develop a practical design,” for travelling wave nuclear reactors.

There’s been a lot written about TerraPower over the past few years, and the company has done a good job of explaining how travelling wave reactors work in these videos on its incubator website. TerraPower’s President John Gilleland explains the process in one video as a new type of nuclear reactor that can provide an infinite amount of power, and unlike the current reactor design that uses only enriched uranium for fuel, TerraPower’s reactor largely uses waste byproduct of that enrichment process, or waste uranium.

TerraPower uses a small amount of enriched uranium at the beginning of the process (see slides at the bottom of the post), but then the nuclear reactor runs on the waste product and can make and consume its own fuel. The benefits are that the reactor doesn’t have to be refueled or have its waste removed until the end of life of the reactor (theoretically a couple hundred years). Using waste uranium reduces the amount of waste in the overall nuclear life cycle, and extends the available supply of the world’s uranium for nuclear by many times.

Not surprisingly, with its Microsoft connection, TerraPower has leaned heavily on supercomputing to design and model the reactor and the lifecycle of the fuel. The TerraPower team is using “1,024 Xeon core processors assembled on 128 blade servers,” which is a cluster that is “over 1000 times the computational ability as a desktop computer.” On Intellectual Venture’s site, they explain the importance of computer modelling as:

Extensive computer simulations and engineering studies produced new evidence that a wave of fission moving slowly through a fuel core could generate a billion watts of electricity continuously for well over 50 to 100 years without enrichment or reprocessing. The hi-fidelity results made possible by advanced computational abilities of modern supercomputer clusters are the driving force behind one of the most active nuclear reactor design teams in the country.

How close to reality is this technology? According to this presentation by Gilleland, “operation of a traveling wave reactor can be demonstrated in less than ten years, and commercial deployment can begin in less than fifteen years.”

So, that’s what Gates was talking about.

February 22, 2010


In yet another odd coincidence, Alan Grayson led a Congressional delegation that just happened to be in Niger at the time of the recent military coup last Thursday that deposed the legitimate elected government of the Uranium-rich nation.

The official story is that the members of Congress were focused on science, technology and humanitarian relief - at the very same time that the military coup was unfolding on the streets of the capital, Niamey.

This intriguing "coincidence" raises the question: Was this Congressional presence during a military coup another instance of a massive intelligence failure or something entirely different?

Niger is a landlocked African country with a population of 15 million mostly Islamic citizens. Niger has a relatively small military that consumes a mere 1.6% of its annual budget.

When the Grayson delegation reached Niamey, the military staged a coup d'etat to displace the elected government of President Tandja Mamadou who had raised some concerns by moves to introduce reforms and revise the constitution as well as to extend his term in office.

Niger is rich in Uranium holding at least 6% of global reserves - a figure that is twice as large as US Uranium deposits. The radioactive mineral constitutes 72% of national exports. In recent years, foreign corporations have invested billions into the Uranium-driven economy of Niger.

The military coup was allegedly led by a relatively low-level Platoon Commander Salou Djibo who held an official briefing during which he maintained silence about any future return to Niger's constitutional democracy.

Djibo is the now the leader of a 'Supreme Council' of army officials that currently constitutes the military junta governing the Uranium-rich nation.

Following Djibo's coup, the UN promptly condemned the military takeover, and the African Union immediately expelled Niger. France, Niger's former colonial overlord, condemned the coup, but the official American reaction struck a distinctly different Chord when US State Department Spokesman, P. J. Crowley, briefed reporters that President Tandja may have triggered the coup himself by, "trying to extend his mandate."

The simultaneous presence of a US Congressional delegation in a uranium-rich Muslim nation at the time of a right-wing military coup is bound to arouse international scrutiny -- especially when official spokesmen in Washington are the sole sources to rationalize -- if not defend -- the military action against the elected government of Niger.

Grayson is a member of the Science and Technology Committee that has jurisdiction over non-defense (ie. non-military) federal scientific research and development including NASA, FEMA and the Department of Energy. Grayson is a progressive on domestic issues, but he performs disappointingly on foreign policy where Max Blumenthal has pointed out that he follows the AIPAC Line on Israel and the Middle East - because he supported Israel's Operation Cast Lead and a pro-Israel position vis a vis Iran, an Islamic nation currently developing nuclear energy.

At this point in time, no other names of the members of the "Congressional delegation" led by Alan Grayson have been released raising deeper questions about the Uranium Coup.

February 20, 2010


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has no right to block nuclear power development in Australia, because he is condemning future Australians to a dark age, Craig Isherwood said today.

“Rudd is betraying future Australians, by bequeathing them a legacy of backward technology,” the Citizens Electoral Council leader said.

“At a time when whole sections of the world are shaking off anti-nuclear superstition and recognising nuclear power is the solution to their energy needs, Rudd is holding Australia back.

“In nuclear terms, Australia is a colonial plantation—we export the raw fuel for paper money; others get the power. In the year 2008-09 Australia exported over 10,000 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate—15 per cent of the world demand—with a value of over A$1 billion. This amount of uranium would generate $12 billion of electricity at a wholesale price of $30 per megawatt hour.”

Mr Isherwood compared Australia to the rest of the world:

“There are 435 nuclear reactors operational in 30 nations around the world, producing 2601 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year.

“There are 40 nations now either building, planning to build, or have proposed to build another 488 reactors—South Korea is planning to export 80 reactors over the next 20 years.

“Australia is fortunate to hold by far the world’s largest reserves of both uranium and thorium. We have more than 1.2 million tonnes of known recoverable uranium resources—23 per cent of the world’s total, and an estimated 489,000 tonnes of thorium resources—19 per cent of the world’s total.

“If we move towards breeder reactor technology and thorium-fuelled reactors, Australia alone has enough nuclear resources to power the entire world for at least tens of thousands of years. And we’ll no doubt make the breakthrough to fusion power well before then.”

Mr Isherwood then pointed out the economics of power generation from a scientific basis:

“Nuclear power takes advantage of the enormous energy contained within an atom. It would take two million grams of oil or three million grams of coal to equal the power contained in just one gram of uranium fuel. Even the quantity of uranium ore, depending on the grade, is still a small fraction of the mass of coal producing the equivalent power.

“Nuclear power can only be cheaper given this scientific principle of energy density. It leaves the diffuse and erratic wind and solar power as a pathetic flap in the wind.

“With so much power, nuclear is ideal for desalination. We could create new rivers and green our deserts.

“However, the most exciting opportunity is the ‘isotope economy’ where we use science to incorporate the 3,000 odd isotopes on the Periodic Table into our economy—we can separate, exquisitely fine tune subatomic processes and generate various species of atoms as raw materials for industrial production. This will lead to all sorts or further discoveries—the possibilities are very exciting.”

Mr Isherwood concluded, “Join our fight for a prosperous future and oppose the Luddite Rudd’s path to economic ruin.”

Saturday, 20 February 2010, 11:22 am
Press Release: Citizens Electoral Council of Australia

February 18, 2010


The results reflect the quality and global significance of the Husab Uranium Project and underpin Extract’s commitment to the completion of a Definitive Feasibility Study and, in due course, the development of a mine at Rossing South.

Uranium mineralization is open down dip and along strike, with further drilling expected to upgrade the resource classification and increase the size of this massive mineralized system.

Fifteen drill rigs are currently operating at Rossing South with 14 dedicated to infill and resource drilling at Zone 1 and Zone 2.

Multiple high grade chemical assay results from Zone 1 and Zone 2 drilling, including

146m @ 639 ppm
88m @ 650 ppm
62m @ 786 ppm
21m @ 2003 ppm
23m @ 1673 ppm.

The company has completed 249,810 Metres of drilling at the Rossing South project with 225,951 Metres of this total dedicated to resource definition within Zone 1 and Zone 2.

The latest round of chemical assay results were received from 75 drill holes located throughout Zone 1 and Zone 2. Multiple intercepts of high grade mineralization were reported from drill holes within both Zone 1 and Zone 2, highlighting the strong continuity of the high grade domains.

Uranium mineralization remains open along strike and down dip with further drilling expected to increase the known dimensions of this massive mineralized system.

The company’s principal asset is its 100%-owned Husab Uranium Project which contains two known uranium deposit areas, Rossing South and Ida Dome.

February 15, 2010


Attention Future DYL & TOE Investors

One Issue to re-consider when investing in Deep Yellow is the soon to be Implemented decision by Toro Energy regarding their J/V Napperby Exploration.

Toros/Deep Yellow's Napperby 2007 (3 Year)Acquisition Agreement .

If undertaken by Toro Energy it will require payment of approximately $57-$75Mill based on a sliding scale of $4.50P/Lb (if u3o8 spot price is $56.00P/Lb or below) based on a 13.2Mill Lb Jorc Napperby Resource, to which on all accounts looking over Napperby's drill results will be attained.

Note* Plus 2-3% royalty payments to both PDN & DYL

This will eventually require a Cash Payment by TOE, or more likely Cash Payment + Share Holding to DYL, so one should keep this in mind, when considering.

Should bolster DYL's Share price over the coming period if Acquisition of Napperby goes ahead.

3 Year Acquisition Agreement Due Approximately July 2010

Cheers from a Long Term Uranium Bull

February 13, 2010


By John D. Sutter, CNN
February 12, 2010 6:03 p.m. EST

Long Beach, California (CNN) -- Microsoft Corp. founder and philanthropist Bill Gates on Friday called on the world's tech community to find a way to turn spent nuclear fuel into cheap, clean fuel.

"What we're going to have to do at a global scale is create a new system," Gates said in a speech at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California. "So we need energy miracles."

Gates called climate change the world's most vexing problem, and added that finding a cheap and clean energy source is more important than creating new vaccines and improving farming techniques, causes into which he has invested billion of dollars.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last month pledged $10 billion to help deploy and develop vaccines for children in the developing world.

The world must eliminate all of its carbon emissions and cut energy costs in half in order to prevent a climate catastrophe, which will hit the world's poor hardest, he said.

"We have to drive full speed and get a miracle in a pretty tight timeline," he said.

Gates said the deadline for the world to cut all of its carbon emissions is 2050. He suggested that researchers spend the next 20 years inventing and perfecting clean energy technology, and then the next 20 years implementing them.

The world's energy portfolio should not include coal or natural gas, he said, and must include carbon capture and storage technology as well as nuclear, wind and both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal power.

"We're going to have to work on each of these five [areas] and we can't give up on any of them because they look daunting," he said. "They all have significant challenges."

Gates spent a significant portion of his speech highlighting nuclear technology that would turn spent uranium -- the 99 percent of uranium rods that aren't burned in current nuclear power plants -- into electricity.

That technology could power the world indefinitely; spent uranium supplies in the U.S. alone could power the country for 100 years, he said.

A "traveling wave reactor" would burn uranium waste slowly, meaning a 60-year supply could be added to a reactor at once and then not touched for decades, he said.

Gates also called for innovation in battery technology.

"All the batteries we make now could store less than 10 minutes of all the energy [in the world]," he said. "So, in fact, we need a big breakthrough here. Something that's going to be of a factor of 100 better than what we have now."

Gates called for more investment in climate-related technology. He said his foundation is backing a company called TerraPower, which is working on spent nuclear technology.

Money that goes into research and development will pay bigger returns than other investments, he said, especially if money goes into energy sources that will be cheap enough for the developing world to afford.

Clean energy technologies must be installed in poorer countries as they develop, he said.

"You'd be stunned at the ridiculously low costs of innovation," said Gates, who received a standing ovation for his remarks.

If he could wish for anything in the world, Gates said he would not pick the next 50 years' worth of presidents or wish for a miracle vaccine.

He would choose energy that is half as expensive as coal and doesn't warm the planet.

Click Image To Access

February 10, 2010



The country's first new uranium mill in 25 years could be operating in Southwest Colorado in early 2012, its chief backer said Tuesday.

But a leading critic of the mill doubts the claim.

Energy Fuels Corp. plans to build the Piñon Ridge mill in the Paradox Valley of Montrose County, about 12 miles west of Naturita.

The company applied to the state health department for a permit to operate last November. By law, the department has until early 2011 to either issue or deny the permit, Energy Fuels President George Glasier said Tuesday at a Colorado Mining Association conference.

“If we didn't think we could get the license, we wouldn't have spent the time and money," Glasier said.

The health department has scheduled a public meeting about the mill for Feb. 17 in Montrose.

Glasier is confident uranium demand will return, although it is now trading in the low $40 range per pound - about $10 less than last summer.

“One of the things the United States needs badly is new uranium mills, because existing mills just cannot handle all the demand there's going to be," Glasier said.

Only mills in Blanding, Utah, and Cañon City have processed uranium recently. The Naturita mill would spur new mining in Colorado and would draw workers from Cortez to Grand Junction, Glasier said.

After state approval in January 2011, the mill could be built in nine months and operating by early 2012, Glasier said.

Others aren't so sure.

“That may be the plan he's promoting," said Travis Stills, a Durango-based lawyer for the mill's opponents. “That doesn't sound very realistic."

In addition to state approval, Energy Fuels needs to secure water rights, an air-quality permit and Environmental Protection Agency blessings for the design of its tailing cells, Stills said. The EPA in particular has a track record of being tough with uranium companies, Stills said.

“That's what a promoter does, is promote a best-case scenario," Stills said.

Glasier also took shots at his environmental opponents.

He had looked at a mill site in San Miguel County but rejected it.

“San Miguel County is where Telluride is, and those people are against mining - any kind of mining," Glasier said.

However, no national environmental groups have joined the fight, he said.

Click Image To Access


The Calvert Cliffs power plant

President Barack Obama’s proposal to triple federal loan guarantees for the construction of new nuclear power plants has galvanized critics of the existing program, which they say is on the verge of throwing taxpayer support behind four projects facing untold costs and dependent on unproven technology.

In his $3.8 trillion budget plan for 2011, released last week, Obama called for boosting loan guarantees to $55 billion to help jump-start construction of U.S. nuclear plants. In his Jan. 26 State of the Union address, the president urged “building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country."

His words marked a shift toward more public support for an industry that has brought just one new U.S. nuclear power plant online in 20 years. Utility companies and nuclear reactor builders insist that federal financial backing is necessary to woo investors, wary that only 50 percent of U.S. reactors that have been ordered have been licensed and generated power.

“These loan guarantees will serve as a catalyst to accelerate construction of new nuclear plants, creating thousands of high-paying, long-term jobs in the process,” Marvin Fertel, president of the main industry association, the Nuclear Energy Institute, said in a statement. “By supporting new reactors, loan guarantees also will reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing capability for nuclear energy components.”

But Obama’s push for more loan guarantees — at the same time his administration has gone back to the drawing board on the issue of nuclear waste by defunding the Yucca Mountain, Nev., repository site — also has reinvigorated the debate over the near-term viability of nuclear power.

Administered and pushed by the Department of Energy, the financing scheme would make American taxpayers liable for as much as 80 percent of the likely $7 billion-plus cost of designing, licensing and building each new U.S. nuclear reactor that receives a loan guarantee. The guarantees would extend up to 30 years.

Obama’s new support for nuclear power, which some feel may be a down payment for Republican backing on a climate change bill, follows a much stronger commitment by President George W. Bush. The industry’s stock has soared in Washington after it poured tens of millions of dollars into federal lawmakers’ campaign coffers and spent hundreds of millions on lobbying.

At Bush’s behest, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 provided $13 billion in subsidies to the nuclear power industry for research, construction, operations and site cleanup, and it authorized the loan guarantees. The Department of Energy is selecting recipients for an initial round of $18.5 billion in guarantees.

First four projects face problems
The four projects at the top of DOE’s list for that first round, culled from 19 applications, all are facing problems, including squabbling among partners, cost overruns and reactor design difficulties. Issues such as those, anti-nuclear groups and fiscal watchdogs say, demonstrate that the plants are far too risky for taxpayers to endorse.

Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren, senior fellows at the conservative Cato Institute, which opposes all energy industry subsidies, have called the industry’s claims that nuclear power is economically viable nonsense.

“It’s not about the merits of nuclear power, it’s about the merits of these particular projects,” Autumn Hannah of Taxpayers for Common Sense said of her group's opposition to the federal funding. “We are not anti-nuclear, we are anti-nuclear subsidies.” Her group has characterized the four projects in line for initial loan guarantees as “in a shambles.”

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” countered Jarret Adams, U.S. spokesman for French-owned nuclear giant Areva, which hopes to build the reactor for one of the four projects. Adams and other industry representatives told msnbc.com that the problems are minor hiccups on the road to the “nuclear renaissance” they have been predicting for a decade now and are being unfairly trumped up by groups that are dead-set against any new nuclear plants.

While the Department of Energy has not published its short list of contenders for the first round of loan guarantees, and did not answer questions from msnbc.com about the program, DOE officials and some applicants have previously confirmed them to be:

• The Summer Station Nuclear Station’s proposal to add two 1,117-megawatt reactors to its Fairfield County, S.C., site, which currently operates a single reactor. The new reactors would be Westinghouse AP 1000s, not in operation anywhere yet and under new scrutiny from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission over the design of the shield building and other issues. The station’s owner warned last year that projected cost of the reactors could be $500 million higher than expected.

• A similar expansion plan at the Vogtle site in Waynesboro, Ga., which currently operates two reactors with a total of 2,430 megawatts of capacity. The plant’s owners want to nearly double that by adding a pair of the Westinghouse AP 1000s. In addition to the hurdles faced by the reactors, the project is the subject of a lawsuit over its finances.

• The plan to add a 1,600-megawatt reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, which operates two reactors near Lusby, Md., with a combined output of 1,750 megawatts. The plant's owner has chosen Areva’s Evolutionary Power Reactor. The first installation of that reactor in Okiluoto, Finland, is running two to three years behind schedule, with cost overruns pushing the price from $4.4 billion to $6.5 billion. And the design has not yet received certification from the NRC.

• The South Texas Project’s bid to become the nation’s largest nuclear power plant by adding a pair of reactors to its Matagorda County facility for a total generating capacity of more than 5,000 megawatts — enough electricity to supply the needs of about 2 million homes and businesses. STP’s plans are threatened by a courtroom squabble among its partners over the estimated cost of the expansion, which has skyrocketed from $6 billion to $17 billion. The Texas project is the only proposal on the loan guarantee list that calls for using a reactor — General Electric’s Advanced Boiling Water Reactor — currently in operation. (General Electric also owns NBC, which in turn owns half of msnbc.com.)

Click Image To Access

February 7, 2010

Obama's Pro Nuclear Power Policy

Obama wants to triple public financing for new nuclear power plants, even as he nixes funds for storing commercial radioactive waste. The policy may be calculated to win votes for climate change legislation, but critics say it's not 'coherent' and carries new security risks.

President Obama has followed up on his support for "a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants," laid out Jan. 27 in his State of the Union speech, by proposing to triple public financing for nuclear power.

The Department of Energy recently proposed $36 billion in new federal loan guarantees on top of $18.5 billion already budgeted – for a total of $54.5 billion. That's enough to help fund six or seven new power plants.

It's a full-speed nuclear-power gambit that many say is largely a bid to win votes from pro-nuclear senators for legislation to address climate change. But his strategy is generating a firestorm of opposition, amid warnings that much more is at stake than a political calculus.

From environmentalists to fiscal hawks to nuclear security experts, the Obama plan is sparking near-open revolt. The nuclear-power expansion is not accompanied by any plan to store commercial radioactive waste, they note, and includes a new push by the Department of Energy into spent-fuel reprocessing and small "pocket nuke" reactor research, which they see as a proliferation risk. The Obama nuclear policy is at cross purposes to his nonproliferation goals, they add, and might even cement his energy legacy as the president who revived a moribund industry that hadn't built a nuclear plant in decades because of the financial, environmental, and security risks involved.

"It's ironic, but Obama could end up being the biggest pro-nuclear power president since Dwight Eisenhower," says Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, a nuclear deterrence expert who served as deputy for nonproliferation policy in the Department of Defense from 1989-1993 under President George H.W. Bush.
One antidote to global warming?

Among environmentalists, who saw Mr. Obama as a friend of renewable energy, the sense of betrayal is acute.

"Every new nuclear power plant built would be a step backwards when it comes to solving global warming," Anna Aurilio, a spokeswoman for Environment America said a statement. "Clean energy solutions like energy efficiency and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are far more effective."

Obama's stance won plaudits from the industry, however.

"The administration's initiative will make a meaningful difference in bringing about development of the nuclear energy facilities that our nation needs," Marvin Fertel, president of the Nuclear Energy Institute, said in a statement.

Budget hawks have a different set of concerns. They oppose government "subsidies" to the industry (in the form of federal loan guarantees), saying taxpayers assume a huge risk given the industry's track record of cost overruns – and loan defaults – in the 1980s.

"We didn't have good experience recently with the mortgage industry, and we ought to keep that in mind with nuclear power," says Doug Koplow, president of Earthtrack, an energy consulting firm. "For each power plant, we're talking about something like $8 billion in taxpayer exposure to a single asset owned by a private firm. To me that seems unprecedented."

Various studies and the US Government Accountability Office warn of potential loan default rates on the order of 50 percent. The Department of Energy, though, says safeguards are in place to prevent that.

Click Image To Access

February 1, 2010

Nuclear Energy Firms Seek More Than Loan Guarantees For Revival

Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu told reporters on Friday that the DoE budget, which will be released on Monday, would call for a $54 billion loan guarantee program, tripling the current amount.

Raising the amount of federal loan guarantees available for new nuclear plants is just part of what the industry wants Congress to do to spur its revival.

The move was praised by industry lobbyists but criticized by some environmental and fiscal watchdog groups for putting too much taxpayer money at risk.

Congress has already approved an $18.5 billion loan guarantee program in hopes of reassuring Wall Street investors about an industry with a history of cost overruns. But the industry said additional financial support was needed. The loan guarantee program prompted 17 applications for projects that were estimated to cost $122 billion to build.

The announcement of the additional loan guarantees “is a very important signal of the seriousness about getting a clean energy industry back up and running,” said Jim Connaughton, a former director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality in the Bush administration.

Connaughton is now an executive at Constellation, an electric utility that operates five nuclear reactors at three sites. Constellation was one of three utilities to win an initial loan guarantee.

Connaughton said negotiations with DoE are ongoing over what percentage a company should have to pay to DoE to reduce its risk. The industry wants to keep the “credit cost” at 1 percent or below the anticipated total cost to build a new plant. A company would be required to pay DoE $100 million to reduce the risks for a $10 billion project, but industry critics have sought a much higher percentage.

The guarantees would mean the government would step in to repay 80 percent of a loan should a company default.

In addition to loan guarantees, the industry is also lobbying to remain eligible for support from a clean energy fund Congress is also considering.

The entity would support a variety of clean energy technologies through loans, grants and guarantees to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Industry lobbyists participating in the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a coalition of environmental groups and energy companies that support climate change legislation, are working within the group to have nuclear power counted as clean energy in a Clean Energy Standard.

Such a standard would be an alternative to a Renewable Energy Portfolio renewable production mandate under consideration in Congress that is now limited largely to wind and solar power. It is opposed by environmental groups within USCAP.

The industry also continues to press for regulatory changes to speed the time it takes the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to approve a nuclear application. Industry officials say the long process of winning regulatory approval discourages potential investors.

Utilities like Constellation and Exelon, which operate nuclear plants, also continue to press for a cap-and-trade bill that would give the plants a competitive advantage over coal and natural gas plants that emit carbon dioxide.

And Connaughton said the industry would press for an even higher level of loan guarantees.

There are around 100 nuclear reactors in operation, but the NRC has not approved a new application for a reactor in more than two decades.

Politically, the industry has already undergone a revival of sorts. Before DoE announced it would seek additional loan guarantees, President Barack Obama said a comprehensive climate and energy bill should include support for new nuclear plants.

Nuclear power is likely to be a central component of the climate legislation compromise that emerges from the negotiations led by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

But much of the industry’s agenda will be opposed by environmental groups and by fiscal watchdogs that worry billions of taxpayer dollars are at risk with the loan guarantee program.

“Increasing loan guarantees for nuclear power beyond what Congress already has authorized would shift unacceptable risks from the nuclear industry to U.S. taxpayers,” said Ellen Vancko, nuclear energy and climate change project manager at Union of Concerned Scientists.