The Department of Energy yesterday awarded the American Nuclear Society and Energy Communities Alliance Inc. (ECA) a combined $800,000 to connect with communities across the country and establish education and outreach opportunities in nuclear energy. (A Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, ECA “brings together local government officials to share information, establish policy positions, and promote community interests to address an increasingly complex set of constituent, environmental, regulatory, and economic development needs,” according to its website.)
The two organizations are to emphasize energy justice and prioritize their work in localities impacted by or interested in deploying advanced reactors. Through the award, the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) plans to collaborate with ANS and ECA to work with energy communities, educational entities, and others to further its mission of advancing nuclear energy’s role in addressing energy, environmental, and economic needs.
“This program is an essential step in expanding engagement with communities interested in nuclear power and its role in helping achieve our country’s clean energy goals,” said Kathryn Huff, assistant secretary for nuclear energy, in the DOE’s announcement of the award. “It is equally imperative that we incorporate environmental and energy justice in these efforts as we aim to ensure that the benefits of clean energy projects are equitably delivered to all.”
Award details: ANS will receive approximately $200,000 to broaden the diversity and reach of professional development opportunities for educators, particularly those teaching underserved students. The funds will also go toward building a diverse workforce, engaging communities in locations impacted by nuclear projects, and increasing awareness and knowledge of policymakers about nuclear energy and its benefits.
ECA will receive $600,000 to engage with local governments and communities on outreach activities to advance the development of nuclear energy technologies and policies. In addition, ECA will seek to identify resources and key stakeholders for communities and help facilitate conversations between NE and local governments on such topics as advanced reactor deployment and spent nuclear fuel management. Each award extends over a two-year performance period.
The Biden administration is using approximately $480,000 in fiscal year 2022 funds for the program.