CNC Program Guidance
Now Seeking Applications
The U.S. Department of Energy is now seeking applications for certification and sealed bid submissions under the Civil Nuclear Credit Program to support the continued operation of U.S. nuclear reactors. The Guidance 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 potential allocation of credits.
DOE has extended the application deadline for the first CNC awards cycle. 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 July 5th.
As urged by many public commenters during the 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 cycle to be launched in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2023, will not be limited to nuclear reactors that have publicly announced their intentions to retire.
What is the Civil Nuclear Credit Program?
The Civil Nuclear Credit Program is a $6 billion strategic investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to help preserve the existing U.S. reactor fleet and save thousands of high-paying jobs across the country.
Under the new program, owners or operators of commercial U.S. reactors can apply for certification to bid on credits to support their continued operations. An application must demonstrate the reactor is projected to close for economic reasons and that closure will lead to a rise in air pollutants and carbon emissions. The Secretary of Energy must also determine that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has reasonable assurance that the reactor will continue operating safely.
Credits will be allocated to selected certified reactors over a four-year period beginning on the date of the selection and credits can be awarded through September 30, 2031, if funds remain available.
The U.S. Department of Energy issued a notice of intent (NOI) and request for information (RFI) to assist in the development of the CNC Program. The NOI let interested parties know that DOE plans to issue a notice of applications and provided an opportunity for potential applicants to submit voluntary, non-binding expressions of interest in the CNC Program. The RFI sought input regarding the structure and execution of the CNC Program, including the certification process and eligibility criteria, invitations to submit bids for credits, and the allocation of credits.
The Department of Energy appreciates the significant public engagement on the RFI. We received more than 120 comments on the development of the CNC program. All public comments are now available online at Regulations.gov.
of the nuclear fleet could be at-risk of shutting down due to economic factors
Why Do We Need the Civil Nuclear Credit Program?
The BIL recognizes the contributions of our nation’s existing nuclear reactor fleet in providing reliable, clean power to millions of households. The BIL supports continued operations of these clean energy sources and the nearly half a million U.S. jobs in the nuclear industry.
Shifting energy markets and other economic factors have already led to early closures of 12 commercial nuclear power reactors across the United States, and more economically at-risk facilities could retire in the coming years. Data show that closing nuclear power plants results in an increase in air pollutants and carbon emissions because fossil fuel plants typically fill the void left by carbon-free nuclear facilities.
The nation’s current fleet of nuclear power plants is vital to achieving the nation's goals of a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.