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ECONOMICS REPORT - With Loan Guarantees, Obama Looks to Nuclear Energy for Jobs

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This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

It has been one year since President Obama signed the economic recovery bill aimed at pulling the country out of recession. The new bill promised jobs -- including many in the nuclear energy industry.

On Tuesday, the president announced plans for the government to guarantee more than eight billion dollars in loans for two new nuclear energy centers in the state of Georgia.

Steam rises from cooling towers at a nuclear power plant near Limerick, Pennsylvania
Steam rises from cooling towers at a nuclear power plant near Limerick, Pennsylvania

The Southern Company plans to build the nuclear power centers with the first starting operations in twenty sixteen.

Mister Obama announced the plan at a job training center in Lanham, Maryland. The message was that nuclear energy projects will create jobs.

BARACK OBAMA: "It is a plant that will create thousands of construction jobs in the next few years, and some eight hundred permanent jobs -- well paying permanent jobs -- in the years to come."

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve predicted that unemployment will remain near current levels through the year. The present rate is nine point seven percent. The central bank said unemployment could remain high for the next two years.

President Obama has received sharp criticism from Republicans over the lack of progress in job creation.

The seven hundred eighty-seven billion dollar American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is also unpopular because of its cost. Critics say the money is being spent too slowly with less than sixty percent being spent so far. But the administration said the measure has saved or created two million jobs.

By supporting nuclear energy, the president may be seeking common ground with Republicans who have called for building as many as one hundred new nuclear power centers.

Mister Obama has linked clean energy with economic growth. He also warned that the United States is falling behind in developing nuclear energy.

BARACK OBAMA: "There are fifty-six nuclear reactors under construction in the world: twenty-one in China alone, six in South Korea and five in India."

The United States has not built a new nuclear power plant in nearly thirty years. American public opinion about nuclear energy has been mixed. In recent years, public opinion studies show more than half of Americans approve of nuclear energy with greater support among men than women.

About one-fifth of the nation's electricity is generated by nuclear power.

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. Do you have a question about an economic issue? Email us at www.unsv.com, where you can also find transcripts and archives of our programs. I'm Mario Ritter.

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