By Emmanuel Oluebube
Closures of nuclear power plants (NPPs) throughout the United States have had a significant impact on the economic foundations of surrounding communities through sudden job losses and a reduction to the local tax base.
EDA has a strong history of working with communities facing structural economic adjustments, including those impacted by nuclear power plant closures.
In FY 2020, EDA is deploying US$15 million appropriated to the agency to support communities impacted by nuclear plant closures.
Today, US$1.5 million of this funding is available under the bureau’s existing Research and National Technical Assistance (RNTA) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to secure one or more cooperative agreement(s) to provide technical assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities (NCCs).
The remaining US$13.5 million in funding is now also available to provide grants through EDA’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistant (PWEAA) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).
For entities to be considered for the RNTA funding source, proposed activities should include the development and refinement of best practices related to economic adjustment associated with nuclear power plant closures and support for connecting these geographically dispersed areas into a community of practice.
In addition to the criteria specified in the RNTA NOFO, a responsive application for funds specific to supporting NCCs should include details pertaining to the following items in the scope of work:
Establishing a formal national network of NCCs for information dissemination, training and sharing of experiences related to closures.
Engaging NCCs to refine economic development goals and properly scope projects in anticipation of future EDA applications related to the NCC funds and other funding sources.
Identifying best practices, writing and sharing success stories, and publishing a periodic newsletter for sharing materials between impacted communities.
Identifying diagnostic tools for economic development readiness, regional economic strengths/opportunities as a way to support strategic planning decisions, and the update/development of Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS).
Developing a training curriculum to help impacted communities better understand EDA, its role in supporting the broader efforts of the NCC funds, and the importance of regional planning for economic recovery.
Planning for social media/project rollout strategy for engaging communities in need of support.
Interested applicant organizations should review the RNTA NOFO for information on eligible entities, eligible activities, and past successful projects.
Organizations interested in applying for this cooperative agreement opportunity are requested to submit applications specific to supporting NCCs by June 12, 2020.
Applications should be submitted via Grants.gov to the existing RNTA NOFO and any questions regarding this opportunity should be sent to RNTA@eda.gov.
The US$13.5 million available through EDA’s Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programme will provide grants generally ranging from US$500,000 to US$2 million for implementation projects and from US$100,000 to US$350,000 for planning activities. The funding is targeted for regions that have been impacted, or can reasonably demonstrate that they will be impacted, by NPP closure(s).
To be eligible for NCC funding, a project must meet the NCC Special Need eligibility criterion and may be used to make awards for any activity eligible for award under EAA, including but not limited to early-stage strategic planning activities, public works (construction) investments, and economic diversification initiatives.