The U.S. Department of Energy is devoting $1.6 million in grants over the next three years to develop community partnerships with the department’s Office of Nuclear Energy to develop and promote nuclear power with a sense of environmental justice across the country.
The community partners receiving the money, which will be divided into 11 separate awards, will work with DOE and community groups, educational institutions and others sharing a mission of “utilizing nuclear energy to advance energy, environmental and economic initiatives.”
The $1.6 million will be devoted to:
- Energy Communities developing resources and educational materials for the community and local government officials
- Energy Justice Organizations and Communities partnering with organizations and communities at the frontlines of the energy transition who are impacted by and/or interested in nuclear energy and its fuel cycle
- Workforce Development and Educational Outreach with a mission of creating materials for educators to help students understand the basics of nuclear science and encourage careers in STEM fields, and
- International Nuclear Education Development funding for fellowships for international students to study nuclear engineering at American universities, national labs, and with industry partners.
“To implement the nuclear technologies of the future we need to communicate the benefits to every community, integrate energy justice into everything we do, and build the next generation of nuclear leaders,” said Andrew Griffith, the DOE’s acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy. “This funding opportunity will help us directly reach and work with local leaders, teachers, students, and others who want to learn about nuclear technologies and can benefit from nuclear energy in their communities.”
Nuclear power provides 52% of the nation’s carbon-free electricity, and despite longstanding concerns about radioactive waste is now considered crucial in a rapidly warming environment.
The Biden-Harris administration has identified the nation’s current fleet of 93 utility nuclear reactors as a “vital resource to achieve net-zero emissions economywide by 2050.” That fleet includes Entergy's two units at Arkansas Nuclear One in Russellville.
The administration sought $480,000 for the nuclear partnership effort in fiscal year 2022. Awards are contingent upon the availability of funds appropriated by Congress. Prospective partners are urged to apply for the funds by clicking here. Applications must be received by July 20.