Department of Energy Accepting Civilian Nuclear Credit Program Applications (Update) | Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Owners or operators of nuclear reactors who wish to be certified to receive credits under the Civilian Nuclear Credits Program should consult DOE guidelines and plan to submit their applications by July 5, 2022.


  • The Department of Energy seeks certification applications and sealed submissions under the Civilian Nuclear Credit Program and has issued guidelines outlining the timelines and requirements to become a Certified Nuclear Reactor.
  • This first award period will commit up to $1.2 billion and is limited to nuclear reactors that are expected to shut down imminently and with a high degree of certainty.
  • Only nuclear reactors that apply for and receive certification will be able to participate in the bidding process and auction and will be eligible to receive credits.

The bipartisan Infrastructure Act previously authorized and earmarked $6 billion for fiscal years 2022 through 2026 to establish the Civilian Nuclear Credit (CNC) program to prevent nuclear plant shutdowns. Under the NCC, the US Department of Energy (DOE) is authorized to provide financial support to existing nuclear reactors that are expected to cease operation due to economic factors. We previously described the CNC program in more detail in February 2022, when the DOE issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) and Request for Information (RFI) outlining and seeking feedback on its program implementation plan. CNC.

On April 20, the DOE announced that it was seeking applications and sealed submissions from owners or operators of nuclear reactors interested in participating in the CNC program. Certification for the DOE’s first award period is limited to nuclear reactors that have already publicly announced their intent to cease operations. Future award periods are expected to begin in the first quarter of fiscal 2023 and will not be limited to nuclear reactors that have publicly announced their intention to cease operations.

The DOE has also released guidance documents outlining its process for implementing the CNC program and providing instructions on how candidates can apply for the program. DOE guidance documents outline timelines, deliverables, and other requirements for owners or operators of nuclear reactors eligible to become certified nuclear reactors and provide instructions on formulating and submitting sealed bids for receive CNC credit allocations. The guidance documents also clarify the certification criteria, application content requirements, assessment process and methodologies, eligibility periods, and expected timelines for the CNC program. A detailed checklist for applying for certification and submitting bids for the first award period is included in Appendix A of the guidelines.

Update: The original deadline for submitting certification requests and sealed offers for the first award period was May 19, 2022. On Wednesday, May 18, the DOE announced that it was extending the application deadline to July 5, 2022. The extension allows eligible nuclear reactor owners and operators an additional 47 days to submit their applications for certification and sealed offers of credits. While the first CNC round remains for reactors that have already publicly announced economic shutdown, the DOE also announced that it is currently developing guidance for the second CNC award round, which will be open to more reactors.

Information on applications and submissions should be submitted here.

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