Funding Will Prevent At-Risk Nuclear Facilities from Premature Closure and Support President Biden's Clean Energy Goals
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced plans to seek applications and sealed bid submissions under the $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit Program (CNC) to support the continued operation of U.S. nuclear reactors — the nation’s largest source of clean energy. The guidance published today directs owners or operators of nuclear power reactors that are expected to shut down due to economic circumstances on how to apply for funding to avoid premature closure. This includes instructions on formulating and submitting sealed bids for allocation of credits. This critical investment, made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help avoid premature retirements of reactors across the country due to financial hardship, preserve thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs to sustain local economies and protect our supply of carbon-free electricity generation.
“U.S. nuclear power plants contribute more than half of our carbon-free electricity, and President Biden is committed to keeping these plants active to reach our clean energy goals,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “We’re using every tool available to get this country powered by clean energy by 2035, and that includes prioritizing our existing nuclear fleet to allow for continued emissions-free electricity generation and economic stability for the communities leading this important work.”
The Biden-Harris Administration has identified the nation’s current fleet of reactors as a vital resource to achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050 — a key deadline for reducing the harmful impacts of climate change. Shifting energy markets and other economic factors have resulted in the early closure of 12 commercial reactors across the United States since 2013. This has led to a rise in emissions in those regions, poorer air quality, the loss of thousands of high-paying jobs, essential employers and financial contributors to local communities. The CNC program will equitably address these challenges while supporting the President’s clean energy goals to ensure that communities across the country continue to see the benefits of sustainable energy infrastructure.
“I am pleased to see that the Department of Energy has worked with incredible speed and determination to deploy the Civil Nuclear Credit Program, authorized and funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This will allow at-risk reactors to begin submitting bids over the next 30 days,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Quick, decisive action is what we needed from the Department, and that is what they have delivered by standing up the Civil Nuclear Credit Program. This program will keep our reactors operating, preserving American jobs, reducing emissions, and bolstering our energy security. We have taken the reliability and resiliency of our nuclear fleet for granted and it is about time we acted to preserve these vital assets."
As urged by many public commenters during the Request for Information (RFI) period earlier this year, the first CNC award cycle will prioritize reactors that have already announced their intention to cease operations. Future CNC award cycles — including for the second to be launched in the first quarter in FY2023 — will not be limited to nuclear reactors that have publicly announced their intentions to retire.
For the first CNC award period, DOE is accepting certification applications and bid as a single submission to implement the program on a more rapid timeline.
Learn more about the CNC Program and the CNC April 2022 Guidance. Applications for certification and sealed bids for credits for the first CNC award cycle must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on May 19, 2022.
Editor’s note: The deadline to submit applications and sealed bids has been extended to July 5, 2022 by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time. (Updated 5/19/2022)