The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the Energy Communities Alliance (ECA) and American Nuclear Society (ANS) a combined $800,000 to connect with communities across the USA and establish education and outreach opportunities in nuclear energy. ECA and ANS will emphasise energy justice and prioritise their work in localities impacted by or interested in deploying advanced reactors. DOE said nuclear power currently provides 50% of US carbon-free electricity. It supports roughly 475,000 jobs and is vital to the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. 

“This programme is an essential step in expanding engagement with communities interested in nuclear power and its role in helping achieve our country’s clean energy goals,” said Dr Kathryn Huff, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. “It is equally imperative that we incorporate environmental and energy justice in these efforts as we aim to ensure that the benefits of clean energy projects are equitably delivered to all.”

DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy will collaborate with ECA and ANS to work with energy communities, educational entities, and other constituents to further its shared mission to advance nuclear energy's role in addressing energy, environmental, and economic needs. These energy partnerships will help provide unique perspectives and innovative ideas on topics related to the management of spent nuclear fuel, clean energy equity, and STEM education.

ECA will receive $600,000 to engage with local governments and communities on outreach activities to advance the development of nuclear energy technologies and policies. ECA will also identify resources and key stakeholders for communities and help facilitate meaningful conversations between NE and local governments on topics ranging from advanced reactor deployment to spent nuclear fuel management.

ANS will receive approximately $200,000 to broaden the diversity and reach of professional development opportunities for educators, particularly those teaching underserved students. It will also help build a diverse workforce, engage communities in locations impacted by nuclear projects, and increase awareness and knowledge of policymakers about nuclear energy and its benefits.

The Administration is using approximately $480,000 in fiscal year 2022 funds for this programme. Each award extends over a two-year performance period. Funding for all awards and future budget periods is contingent upon Congressional appropriations and the availability of future-year budget authority.