According to an article posted on Allheadlinenews.com Senate Bill Paves Way For Up To $50 Billion To Nuclear Power Industry the specific form of assistance being considered for the nuclear industry is for the US Government to provide backing for the loans that the industry will need in order to complete the plants that they have in various stages of planning.
I have to be honest with myself and realize just how dependent I have been on exactly that same kind of assistance, even though it ended up to be a good deal for me that did not cost the government a dime.
In 1983, as an active duty serviceman, I qualified for a Veteran’s Administration (VA) backed home loan that provided a guarantee for 100% of the appraised value of a home that would be the primary residence for me, my wife and soon to be daughter. Since I was just starting out and did not have much in the way of savings, that loan guarantee made it possible for me to purchase a home that would otherwise have been out of reach. It was a pretty modest place, just 1400 square feet, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms and a one car garage, but it was in a good neighborhood where I felt safe leaving my young family for months at a time while I went on patrol.
As it turned out, we experienced a complication with the house inspection while I was at sea and the VA determined that the home did not meet their standards. Fortunately, my wife and real estate agent were able to find another government backed loan program who passed the home and the story ended happily.
Bottom line – there are tens of millions of us who have lived very productive, contributing lives after getting a little hand up from the government in the form of loan guarantees that reduced the risk for lenders who were concerned about risking their money on a borrower with less than stellar characteristics. Whether you are talking about student loans, Federal Housing Administration Loans, Federal Emergency Management Agency loans, or VA loans, the fact is that the government backs individuals and businesses all the time. Some of the programs are well run and have low default rates, others are perennial losers.
In my opinion, backing the loans for new nuclear plants can be a tremendous win for the US as a nation. With good initial criteria that focuses on ability to manage the planned construction and operate the planned facility, there should be no chance of the loan ever entering a condition that requires the US taxpayers to provide a plugged nickel. That is especially true if the government enables safe nuclear plant operation through a well run regulatory agency that knows that lack of adequate power is an unsafe condition that needs to be avoided.