WASHINGTON D.C.: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has said that it is seeking feedback from utilities, communities and advocates related to its new program aimed at supporting struggling nuclear power plants, by providing $6 billion in credits. Passed last year, a bipartisan infrastructure bill tasked the DOE with creating the “Civil Nuclear Credit Program” to distribute the credits to nuclear plants. Nuclear power generates power without the emissions blamed for climate change, but the industry has lost 12 reactors since 2013 due to competition from renewable energy and plants that burn natural gas, as well as rising safety costs after the 2011 tsunami that damaged Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant. In an interview, Andrew Griffith, DOE deputy assistant secretary for nuclear fuel cycle and supply chain, said, “We are moving as fast as we can. But we also want to get it right,” as reported by Reuters. Under the program, owners or operators of U.S. reactors can bid on credits to help support their continued operations. Applicants must prove that their reactors will close for economic reasons, which would lead to a rise in air pollutants. The Biden administration also aims to preserve high-paying union jobs. The law instructs the department to prioritize plants that use domestically-produced uranium for fuel, amidst relatively cheap imports from Canada, Kazakhstan and Russia. The U.S. has spent billions of dollars on a program to permanently store waste from nuclear power plants, currently stored in spent fuel pools and in hardened casks at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. The Biden administration is also seeking local communities willing to host nuclear waste storage sites.