The Department of Energy has increased the funding level for its community engagement on consent-based siting funding opportunity announcement (FOA) from $16 million to $26 million. The DOE first announced it was making funding available to communities interested in learning more about consent-based siting, management of spent nuclear fuel, and interim storage facility siting considerations last September. The FOA follows the DOE’s recent update to its consent-based process for siting an interim storage facility for SNF.
The additional funding, announced on January 19, was included in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations bill and raises the number of awards that can be competitively selected to communities interested in learning about consent-based siting. The previously extended FOA application period closes January 31.
The opportunities: The additional $10 million of funding allows up to 16 awardees to support tasks in the following areas:
- Organization, leadership, and maintenance of meaningful, inclusive community engagement processes related to the management of SNF.
- 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.
- 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 sites to host consolidated interim storage facilities as part of this FOA, the department said it hopes to encourage engagement and open dialogue and to build capacity among interested stakeholders and communities about the consent-based siting process.