DOE incentivizes interim storage with $16 million funding opportunity

September 26, 2022, 6:57AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has announced that it will make $16 million in funding available to communities interested in learning more about “consent-based siting, management of spent nuclear fuel, and interim storage facility siting considerations.” The funding opportunity follows the DOE’s recent update to its consent-based process for siting an interim storage facility for SNF.

“Producing safe, reliable nuclear energy here at home is key to reaching President Biden’s clean energy goals, and DOE wants to advance the discussion of how communities can best host a variety of nuclear facilities,” said secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm. “With this funding, we are facilitating constructive, community-based discussions around the consensual solutions for storing spent nuclear fuel in order to harness the true power of clean nuclear energy.”

What is being funded: The DOE said it plans to fund as many as eight awardees over a period of 18 to 24 months, with the funding intended to “advance mutual learning within a community, provide ease of access to information, and foster open discussions.” The funding will support tasks in the following three areas:

  1. Organization, leadership, and maintenance of meaningful, inclusive community engagement processes related to the management of SNF.
  2. Identifying public values, interests, and goals to promote and enable effective collaboration and community-driven feedback on the consent-based siting process for a potential consolidated interim storage facility.
  3. Developing, implementing, and reporting outcomes and strategies that support mutual learning among stakeholders, communities, and experts on SNF-related topics.

While the DOE is not soliciting volunteer hosts as part of this funding opportunity, the department said it hopes to encourage engagement, open dialogue, and building capacity among interested stakeholders and communities about the consent-based siting process.

Who can apply: The DOE is inviting proposals from communities and organizations interested in learning more about consent-based siting. According to the DOE, eligible awardees include but are not limited to the following:

• Institutions of higher education institutions (colleges, universities, and others ).

• Tribal, state, and local governments (municipalities, towns, cities, and counties).

• Community foundations.

• Nongovernmental organizations (trade associations, 501(c)(3) organizations, and other public groups).

Federally funded research and development centers are not eligible to apply for funding.

The process: The complete funding opportunity announcement with application instructions can be found here. Applications are due by December 19, with an optional letter of intent due by October 20.

The DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy also intends to hold an upcoming webinar on the funding opportunity, details of which will be available on the office’s Consent-Based Siting website and through DOE social media channels.

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