"We are working across the board to try to push the technology forward into the marketplace for all of our energy sources," Moniz said at the
The reactors, which at 1.1 gigawatts each would power 1.5 million homes, would be the first constructed since the 1979
"The president did make it clear that he sees nuclear energy as a part of America's low-carbon energy portfolio, and of course it already is a major part," Moniz said.
The loan, which is divvied up in three tranches, is the largest from a federal program that generated fierce backlash from Republicans who said the initiative picked winners and losers in the energy market. Conservatives mostly aimed that criticism at the green energy ventures in that portfolio, which included the
That flop produced a political firestorm for the Obama administration, as House Republicans put the program under the microscope by alleging the
In recent months, Moniz has taken to defending the loan guarantee program, and the administration has noted it has experienced fewer losses than what
But that's not to say the Vogtle project has gone smoothly. Cost overruns have plagued the project, which carried an initial price tag of
And while the loan guarantee intended to jump start and drive down the cost of new nuclear technology, the energy landscape in the U.S. has made that scenario increasingly untenable as a wealth of new natural gas supplies has provided stiff competition for nuclear. As a result, few utilities have plans to build new power plants, which have high capital costs, in the face of cheap natural gas.