President Barack Obama will this week announce loan guarantees for two new nuclear reactors, starting plans for the first nuclear power plant to be built in the US in three decades.

According to an Obama administration official, the financial commitment will be made for the construction and operation of the two new reactors at a Southern Company plant in Burke, Georgia, reports Britain’s Financial Times.

The company serves 4.4 million customers across the southeast with a fleet including coal, hydroelectric and nuclear energy.

Southern was among four companies named last year to share $18.5bn in federal loan guarantees to build new nuclear power facilities.

A spokesman for the Senate committee on Energy and Natural Resources, who said he was not aware of Mr Obama’s plans, said that while the loan guarantees would be a “big step forward” that the company would still have to go through a complex regulatory approval process before it got started, the newspaper reported.

A White House official said the company expected the deal to create 3,000 onsite construction jobs, and about 850 permanent jobs.