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US Energy: DOE Announces $16 Million to Support Consent-Based Siting for Spent Nuclear Fuel

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $16 million in funding to provide resources to communities interested in learning more about consent-based siting, management of spent nuclear fuel, and interim storage facility siting considerations. Nuclear power plants that produce carbon-free, reliable power will be needed to meet President Biden’s emissions reduction and climate change goals. The production of nuclear energy requires proper management of spent nuclear fuel and DOE continues to advance research and development related to the long-term disposition of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. To maximize transparency and support for facilities needed to manage spent nuclear fuel, DOE is committed to a consent-based approach that is driven by communities and reflective of needs specific to each surrounding area.

“Producing safe, reliable nuclear energy here at home is key to reaching President Biden’s clean energy goals, and DOE wants to advance the discussion of how communities can best host a variety of nuclear facilities,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With this funding, we are facilitating constructive, community-based discussions around the consensual solutions for storing spent nuclear fuel in order to harness the true power of clean nuclear energy.”

DOE plans to fund as many as eight awardees over a period of 18 to 24 months. Award recipients will advance mutual learning within a community, provide ease of access to information, and foster open discussions. Tasks supported by the funding will divided into three following areas:

Organization, leadership, and maintenance of meaningful, inclusive community engagement processes related to the management of spent nuclear fuel.
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 spent nuclear fuel-related topics.
While DOE is not soliciting volunteer sites to host consolidated interim storage facilities as part of this funding opportunity, the Department hopes to encourage engagement, open dialogue, and building capacity among interested stakeholders and communities about the consent-based siting process.

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