The Department of Energy (DOE) late last week announced plans to award up to $1.6 million over three years for programs that provide local communities with educational resources regarding the benefits of nuclear power.
The Funding Opportunity Announcement would provide up to 11 awards that would develop partnerships between the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy and various communities.
The partnerships would work with educational entities and other constituencies to accomplish a “shared mission of utilizing nuclear energy to advance energy, environmental, and economic initiatives” with an emphasis on environmental justice.
The Biden administration has requested approximately $480,000.00 in fiscal year 2022 to fund the program. The awards are contingent upon the availability of funds appropriated by Congress.
“To implement the nuclear technologies of the future we need to communicate the benefits to every community, integrate energy justice into everything we do, and build the next generation of nuclear leaders,” Andrew Griffith acting assistant secretary for nuclear energy, said in a statement.
The DOE identified four areas of focus for the grants:
- The development of resources and educational materials for the community and local government officials;
- The creation of partnerships with organizations and communities at the frontlines of the energy transition who are impacted by and/or interested in nuclear energy and its fuel cycle;
- The development of materials for educators to help students understand the basics of nuclear science and encourage careers in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields; and
- The funding of fellowships for international students to study nuclear engineering at American universities, national labs, and with industry partners.
The Biden administration has identified the current fleet of 93 reactors as a vital resource to achieve net-zero emissions economy wide by 2050. Nuclear power currently provides 52 percent of the nation’s carbon-free electricity.
Grant applications are available at Grants.gov and must be received to the DOE by July 20, 2022.