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Biden Administration Offers $1.2 Billion for Nuclear Power Plants

The Biden administration has announced a $1.2 billion aid package for struggling nuclear power plants. This is the first time funding has been made available for recently closed plants.

Nuclear generating station
Nuclear generating station

Support for Nuclear Power

President Biden and his climate team believe nuclear power is an essential source of carbon-free electricity and should be maintained and expanded to reach the 100% clean electricity goal by 2035.

Nuclear Energy Challenges

With increasing security costs and competition from renewable energy sources and natural gas, around a dozen US reactors have closed since 2013, leaving only 92 operating. Critics of nuclear power express concerns about radioactive waste and potential health and environmental risks, while others call for the nonproliferation of nuclear power.

Source of Funding

The funding comes from the $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit program created by the 2021 infrastructure law and will be administered by the Department of Energy (DOE). In this second round of funding, the money is available to plants at risk of closure shortly and, for the first time, to plants closed after November 15, 2021.

Expanding Opportunities

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says that expanding the funding opportunities will allow more nuclear facilities to continue operating, providing benefits to local communities with cheap, clean, and reliable power.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

Palisades Plant in Michigan

The Palisades plant in Michigan, which closed in May 2022, is now eligible to apply for funding. The plant's previous owner, Entergy Corp, discovered a coolant system leak, leading to its early closure. The current owner, Holtec International, applied for funding in the first round but was rejected by the DOE. Holtec has said that reopening the plant will cost over $1 billion.

DOE Loan Programs Office

Last month, Holtec applied for funding from the DOE's Loan Programs Office to reopen the plant. Holtec Director of Government Affairs, Patrick O'Brien, says that considering nuclear power as a vital part of the energy future and reopening a shutdown nuclear plant is great news for the industry and the country.

Previous Funding for Diablo Canyon

Last year, the DOE provided $1.1 billion in conditional CNC funding to Pacific Gas & Electric's Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which was set to shut down fully in 2025.