Department of Energy Moves To Offer Support For At-Risk Nuclear Power Plants

April 20, 2022

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
April 20, 2022

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on April 19 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 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 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,” DOE said.

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, DOE said, noting that shifting energy markets and other economic factors have resulted in the early closure of 12 commercial reactors across the United States since 2013.

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.  

Additional information about the CNC Program and the guidance is available here.

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.