March 15 -- As part of a program to support nuclear power generation and the goal of zero-carbon electricity by 2035, the Biden Administration on Thursday offered funding of $1.2 billion to nuclear power reactors that are at risk of retiring soon or that ceased operations since November 15, 2021.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released application guidance for the second award cycle of the Civil Nuclear Credit Program, a $6 billion funding part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to prevent the premature retirement of nuclear reactors across the country.
In the first award cycle, nuclear power plants eligible for the funding were limited to owners or operators of nuclear power reactors that had announced intentions to retire within the four-year award period. The second round of funding makes funds available – for the first time – to reactors that ceased operations after November 15, 2021, DOE said.
The Biden Administration considers nuclear power generation as a pillar of the zero-carbon electricity by 2035 goal.
“As the nation’s largest source of carbon free energy, nuclear energy is critical to meeting the President’s goal of achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035,” the Energy Department said.
U.S. nuclear power stations, however, have seen mounting costs and competition from wind and solar power generation in recent years, and some operators have announced plans to close some units earlier than previously planned.
“Expanding the scope of this Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will allow even more nuclear facilities the opportunity to continue operating as economic drivers in local communities that benefit from cheap, clean, and reliable power,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said.
In November, DOE announced the conditional selection of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California to receive the first round of funding from the program. Units 1 and 2 at Diablo Canyon were scheduled to be decommissioned in 2024 and 2025, but the conditional award of credits valued at up to $1.1 billion creates a path forward for Diablo Canyon to remain open, DOE said.