The government led by Joe Biden will provide $6 billion to prevent nuclear plant shutdowns, to advocate for the need to continue producing this zero-carbon energy to combat climate change.
The US Department of Energy revealed to the Associated Press (AP) that the program launched by the US administration targets owners and operators of nuclear reactors who are facing financial difficulties.
This is the largest federal investment to save financially troubled nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plant owners or operators at risk of closure for economic reasons can apply for financing to avoid early closure.
The first beneficiaries of the support will be the exchanges that have already announced plans to close.
It will open the second round of support for facilities that are economically vulnerable, in a program funded through the $1.2 billion infrastructure plan signed by the US president in November.
“US nuclear power plants contribute more than half of our carbon-neutral electricity needs, and President Biden is committed to keeping these plants running to achieve our clean energy goals,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.
The US government intends to “use all available tools to have this country run on clean energy by 2035”.
“This includes prioritizing our existing nuclear fleet to enable continuous zero-emission electricity generation and economic stabilization for the communities that drive this important work.”
The vast majority of nations, about two-thirds of nations, say nuclear power, in one way or another, will help replace fossil fuels.
Dozens of commercial nuclear reactors in the United States have closed in the past decade before their licenses expire, largely due to competition from cheaper natural gas, and widespread operating losses, due to low electricity prices and higher costs or the cost of major repairs.
This has resulted in increased emissions in these areas, deteriorating air quality, and the loss of thousands of high-paying jobs, causing an economic blow to local communities, according to the Department of Energy.
A quarter or more of the facilities are at risk, the US government added, as owners of seven nuclear plants currently in operation have announced plans to close them by 2025.
Most of these American facilities were built between the 1970s and 1990s, which currently represents a cost to operate due to outdated infrastructure.
The only nuclear power plant under construction in the United States is located in the state of Georgia.