The newly passed Senate energy bill contains one sentence that 's worth tens of billions of dollars to the nuclear industry. Never debated, the provision offers builders of new nuclear plants as much as $50 billion in loan guarantees over two years. That, the New York Times reports, can be expected to prompt major expansion in the industry, with 28 new reactors now on the boards.
Nuclear power has enjoyed growing support of late because it's classified as "clean" technology. But the provision, engineered by Sen.Pete Domenici, exceeds what most lawmakers had in mind and what the White House proposed. In 2007, only $4 billion was awarded to ‘clean energy’ projects. (Read more nuclear power stories.)