The wicked witch west of Fort Worth, Comanche Peak, may be dead!

The planned $15 billion expansion of the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant suffered a critical funding setback in Congress this week when cuts in the House-passed version of the federal spending bill eliminated loan guarantees that Dallas-based Luminant have said were vital to the plan’s viability.

Republicans who pledge even more budget-cutting will take control of the House and most observers expect that efforts to increase spending on such things as nuclear plant expansions will face even greater obstacles.

Under intense public pressure to slash spending, the House cut the level back to $7 billion in the catch-all government spending bill known as a continuing resolution.  The U.S. Senate will vote on the spending bill next week, and it is not clear whether lawmakers who support the loan guarantee program will make an effort to boost the funding before Congress adjourns before Christmas.