The US Department of Energy has announced that bids for a $6 billion nuclear renewal programme will be solicited. Nuclear power reactor owners and operators that are about to shut down for economic reasons can request for funding to avoid closing prematurely. The first round of awards from the new programme will prioritise funding nuclear plants that have already announced a closure date. The second round of funding in the program will begin in the first quarter of the 2023 financial year. The deadline to apply for the plan is May 19, 2022.

The department highlighted the early closure of 12 nuclear reactors owing to economic concerns since 2013. During the same time period, however, around 20 reactors have cancelled their planned shutdowns due to various reasons. The US has 93 nuclear reactors in total, which provide the majority of the country’s sustainable power. In addtion, two more reactors are under construction. Furthermore, not all nuclear power plants are shut down for economic reasons. Pacific Gas & Electric plans to shut down two reactors in California in 2024 and 2025. However, the company has stated that the program’s decision will not be revised, made in response to California’s energy legislation.

Previously, Rolls Royce intended to start up its first small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) in 2029. The government has already invested $274 million in Rolls Royce’s SMR development. Also, Rolls Royce’s SMR design has been submitted to the UK’s nuclear regulator for approval.