A Constellation Energy nuclear energy facility, with a power generation capacity of 1,600 megawatts, has entered into a final phase to be selected to receive a portion of the Department of Energy's $18.5 billion loan which is allocated for advanced nuclear projects.

Constellation's Calvert Cliffs Unit 3 nuclear reactor -which would be built in Lusby, Southern Maryland - is among four projects chosen by the DOE. The loan guarantee commitment could be granted by the end of this year.

The facility would generate enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes, Constellation said. It would be developed by UniStar Nuclear Energy, a joint venture of Constellation Energy and French EDF Group.

The project is expected to create up to 4,000 construction jobs and about 400 permanent jobs, as well as help the state of Maryland to meet its environmental targets while adding more clean energy capacity.

There were 19 applicants for the loan guarantees, according to Bizjournals. The low-interest-rate loans finance up to 80 percent of the costs to build a facility.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the last nuclear plant to be constructed was in 1996. There are 104 operating commercial reactors in the U.S., and 17 applications are pending at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build 26 more reactors, according to Bloomberg.

President Barack Obama has said he believes that nuclear power is and will remain an important source of electricity in the U.S. for many years to come, according to his budget proposal.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has backed this opinion by saying that the United States should recapture nuclear energy technologies. During a hearing of the U.S. climate bill at Congress last month, Chu said the administration was trying to restart the reactor nuclear industry.