ECA consortium to fund consent-based siting outreach

July 3, 2024, 9:36AMRadwaste Solutions

The Energy Communities Alliance, a membership organization of local governments adjacent to or impacted by Department of Energy sites, has awarded grants to three community organizations to develop avenues for inclusive public engagement and discussions of consent-based approaches to siting facilities for the interim storage of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel.

The Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, and the Tri-City Development Council will each receive grants up to $150,000 for a performance period of up to 12 months to build outreach and engagement initiatives surrounding the DOE’s consent-based siting initiative for identifying SNF storage and disposal sites.

The ECA is one of 12 consent-based siting consortia, including the American Nuclear Society, that has been awarded roughly $2 million in DOE funding to engage communities on consent-based siting, the management of SNF, and federal consolidated interim storage.

The goals: The awards support two goals laid out by the ECA consortium, according to the organization’s news release. The first is to build capacity in communities interested in consent-based siting and ensure they have the information—and informed representatives—to meaningfully engage on the issues a community will address as a potential host of a nuclear waste facility.

The second is to facilitate deeper engagement and create momentum by distributing resources for qualifying individual communities that demonstrate a readiness to begin localized education and outreach to determine the potential for consent or to capture information that can help define the elements of consent.

The ECA’s winning proposals are outlined below.

Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado: As part of community outreach efforts to assist the transition away from coal towards clean and sustainable energy, the AGNC will develop education, knowledge exchange, and mutual learning and utilize surveys, focus groups, and interviews to engage community members in discussions about the potential siting of an interim storage facility.

Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization: The SRSCRO will convene community members, key stakeholders, and experts in a dialogue around consent-based siting. The organization will produce reports, create a webpage, and develop educational materials related to consent-based siting approaches, to assess local and regional concerns and address how they can be mitigated.

Tri-City Development Council: Working with the Hanford Site Community Reuse Organization and the local utility, the TRIDEC will create an education and outreach program using social media, workshops, and informational materials to foster an inclusive community dialogue around nuclear waste management. A key topic to be addressed is the distinction between commercial used fuel and the defense waste at Hanford.

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