Program Supports Carbon-Free Nuclear Plants and Preserves Clean Energy Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced an amendment to the Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) Program Guidance for the currently open award cycle. To incorporate these changes and give potential applicants the time they need to respond, DOE also extended the application period another 60 days to September 6, 2022.

The Amended Guidance revises the eligibility criteria to replace the requirement that a nuclear reactor applying for credits under the CNC Program not recover more than 50 percent of its costs from cost-of-service regulation or regulated contracts. This change affects the eligibility of reactors who may apply in the first round of awards.

The nation’s current fleet of reactors is a vital resource to achieve the Administration’s goal of net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050, which is key to reducing the harmful impacts of climate change.

“U.S. nuclear power plants are important clean energy assets and preserving our existing fleet will maintain nearly half a million good-paying jobs in the nuclear industry,” said Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, Dr. Kathryn Huff. “The amended CNC Guidance supports the intent of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to keep the reactors online that sustain local economies and today provide our nation’s single largest source of carbon-free electricity.”

Shifting energy markets and other factors have resulted in the early closures of 13 commercial reactors across the United States since 2013. This has led to a rise in carbon emissions in those regions, poorer air quality, and 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 benefit from sustainable energy infrastructure.

This change made in the Amended Guidance was one of three requests by the Office of the Governor of California in a letter dated May 23, 2022. Considering this request’s potential applicability to reactors nationwide, DOE issued a proposed Guidance Amendment for public comment on June 17, 2022. After assessing programmatic goals and public comments, DOE believes this change better supports the intent of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the goals of the CNC Program to keep clean, reliable electricity on the grid.

As many commenters urged, DOE is also announcing the extension of the due date for submission of applications and bids for the first CNC award cycle. Applications and bids are now due September 6, 2022, to provide potential applicants sufficient time to prepare submissions in accordance with the Amended Guidance.

DOE is committed to integrity and transparency throughout the implementation of the CNC Program. A record of public comments may be found here.

The first CNC award cycle prioritizes reactors that have already announced their intention to cease operations. Future CNC award cycles—including the second award cycle, to be launched in the first quarter of FY2023—will not be limited to nuclear reactors that have publicly announced their intentions to retire.  

Learn more about the CNC Program, the CNC April 2022 Guidance, and the CNC June 2022 Amended 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, September 6, 2022.