Biden Administration Offers $1.2 Billion to Shore Up Nuclear Power Plants

March 2, 2023

The Biden Administration Thursday said it was allocating a new round of $1.2 billion in aid to shore up distressed nuclear power plants.

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced the new $1.2 billion allocation. The money is part of a $6 billion investment in in the Civil Nuclear Credit Program as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that President Biden signed in November 2021.

The funding “will allow even more nuclear facilities the opportunity to continue operating as economic drivers in local communities that benefit from cheap, clean, and reliable power,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

For the first time, such aid will also apply to a plant that recently shut down—the Palisades plant in Michigan (see photo). It closed last May—two weeks ahead of schedule—when then-owner Entergy discovered a coolant leak. The plant’s current owner, Holtec International, had applied for the first round of funding but the DOE rejected it. Before closing, the plant provided some 600 high-paying jobs.

Last year, the DOE provided $1.1 billion in conditional funding to Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California, which had been scheduled to shut down in 2025.

The United States’ 92 nuclear power reactors generate more than half of the country’s virtually carbon-free electricity. However, more than a dozen plants have closed in the past decade amid competition from renewable energy and natural gas plants. 

Applications for the current round must be submitted by May 31.

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