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Obama unveils loan guarantee for nuclear plant
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-02-17 09:59

U.S. President Barack Obama announced Tuesday 8.3 billion dollars loans to invest in the first U.S. nuclear power plant in nearly three decades to create energy jobs.

After touring a job training center at the headquarters of Local 26 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Lanham, Maryland, Obama made the announcement to a union audience.

Obama said that the initiative will create thousands of construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs. He called it "only the beginning" of efforts to develop "safe, clean" energy-efficient technologies.

The union represents electrical and telecommunications workers, and it offers training useful for energy jobs, including the construction of nuclear power plants.

Federal loan guarantees are seen as essential to spurring construction of new reactors because of the huge expense.

The reactors will be built by the Atlanta-based energy company near Waynesboro, Georgia.

"We've already made the largest investment in clean energy in history, an investment that is expected to create more than 700, 000 jobs across America -- manufacturing advanced batteries for more efficient vehicles, upgrading the power grid so that it's smarter and stronger, and doubling our nation's capacity to generate renewable energy," Obama said.

"But in order to truly harness out potential in clean energy, we'll have to do more," Obama said, "That's what brings us here today."

Some analysts said that Obama is trying every possible way to create jobs recently.

Unemployment, currently at 9.7 percent, remains over 20 years high level.

According to the U.S. government's budget proposal, which was sent to the Congress on February 1 by President Obama, unemployment is projected to stay at about 9.8 percent in 2010. To create jobs has become the top priority of the Obama administration.

But Obama said that promoting clean energy industry is not only for jobs, but also for international competition.

"Japan and France have long invested heavily in this industry (nuclear energy)," he said, "Meanwhile, there 56 nuclear reactors under construction around the world: 21 in China; 6 in South Korea; 5 in India."

The President said that the commitment of building nuclear energy is also generating demand for expertise and new technologies besides creating jobs.

Obama called for "a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants" in his State of the Union address last month, and followed that by proposing to triple new federal loan guarantees for new nuclear plants. The president's budget proposal for 2011 would add 36 billion dollars in new federal loan guarantees to 18.5 billion dollars already budgeted but not spent -- for a total of 54.5 billion dollars.

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