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CFPs: Advancing Nuclear Safety, Security and Nonproliferation through the FIRST Program

CFPs: Advancing Nuclear Safety, Security and Nonproliferation through the FIRST Program

Deadline: 31-Jan-24

The Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, Office of Cooperative Threat Reduction (ISN/CTR) is pleased to announce an open competition for assistance awards through funding opportunity focuses on mitigating weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and WMD-related delivery systems proliferation and security threats from non-state actors and proliferator states.

CTR administers the Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology Program (FIRST), which was announced by the White House at the Leaders’ Climate Summit in April 2021. FIRST provides technical capacity-building support to potential nuclear energy newcomer countries and current nuclear energy countries that are considering small modular reactors (SMRs) and other advanced reactor designs to meet their clean energy needs, consistent with the highest international standards of nuclear security, nonproliferation, and safety. FIRST is designed to enhance U.S. bilateral and multilateral cooperation, consistent with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) nuclear energy infrastructure development milestones approach, in nuclear energy infrastructure development, nuclear security, and capacity-building. In so doing, the program supports secure, safe, and proliferation-resistant deployment of SMRs or other advanced reactors to partner countries.

Program Objectives
  • ISN/CTR sponsors foreign assistance activities funded by the Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR) and other accounts, and focuses on mitigating proliferation and security risks from state and non-state actors.
  • In Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24), FIRST will fund activities that align with and support one or more of its two goals. Proposals should clearly indicate which of the two goals the work is intended to support.
  • Empower potential nuclear energy newcomer countries to prioritize nuclear security, nonproliferation, and safety considerations from the outset when evaluating civil nuclear reactor technologies, with an emphasis on SMRs and other advanced reactor designs.
    • FIRST provides capacity-building support to partner countries as they develop their nuclear energy programs to achieve their clean energy goals under the highest international standards for nuclear security, safety, and nonproliferation. FIRST provides this support in a manner consistent with the IAEA Milestones Approach for implementing a responsible nuclear power program. These efforts support the ability of the United States to uphold and strengthen global nuclear nonproliferation, security, and safety norms at the facility and national level and in international forums such as the IAEA. This line of effort is primarily focused on partner states including but not limited to Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, regional), Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand), Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Kenya, regional), and a limited number of Central Asian (Kazakhstan, regional), Latin American and the Caribbean (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jamaica, Peru, regional), and potentially Middle Eastern countries (Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, UAE, regional).
  • Strengthen partner countries’ capacities to mitigate the nuclear security, proliferation, safety, liability, and sovereignty risks associated with aggressive deployment of early to-market FNPPs by third countries.
    • This is a dedicated and distinct line of effort for littoral states that is specific to FNPPs, whose security and proliferation vulnerabilities are unique and poorly understood. This line of effort is primarily focused on partner states in South and Southeast Asia, but may also engage littoral states in Africa. The goal is not to promote the development of new FNPPs, but rather to raise awareness regarding security and proliferation concerns associated with premature deployment of FNPPs. The goal of this effort is also to empower stakeholders to mitigate the risks arising from immediate deployment in their region of civilian FNPPs now available on the market before the international community can reach consensus on these unresolved issues.
Funding Information
  • Length of performance period: Twelve (12) Months
  • Number of awards anticipated: 30 awards (dependent on amounts)
  • Number of awards applications: 300
  • Award amounts: awards may range from a minimum of $50,000 to a maximum of $250,000
  • Total available funding: $10,000,000
  • Anticipated projects start date: October 1, 2024
  • Project Performance Period: Proposed projects should be completed in 12 months or less.
Participants and Audiences
  • While global in scope, FIRST directs its efforts towards individual priority countries to maximize its programmatic impact. FIRST is primarily interested in engaging partner countries’ nuclear energy agencies, regulatory authorities, reactor operators, utilities, nuclear research institutes, technical and non-technical organization decision makers, energy, environmental, and foreign ministries, and academia (at the faculty level). Audiences for these activities may include, but are not limited to:
    • Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation Decision Makers: FIRST engages various policy makers in partner countries, including at senior levels, on paths forward for secure, sustainable, proliferation-resistant approaches to civil nuclear energy in their respective countries. This community may include officials from energy and environmental ministries, science ministries, finance ministries, foreign diplomats, university partners, and local officials in the context of capacity-building for FIRST.
    • Government Operators, Regulators, and Security Personnel: FIRST engages operators, regulators, and security personnel to implement trustworthiness programs and programs that ensure the highest standards for nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation.
    • Technical Organization Decision Makers: To ensure the sustainability and success of FIRST engagement with operators, regulators, and security personnel, FIRST engages relevant decision makers and nuclear industry officials.
Eligibility Criteria
  • Eligible Applicants
    • The following organizations are eligible to apply:
      • Not-for-profit organizations, including think tanks and civil society/non-governmental organizations
      • Public and private educational institutions
      • Federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs)
      • For-profit organizations Public International Organizations and
      • Governmental institutions
  • Cost Sharing or Matching
    • Cost sharing is not required and will play no role in when the project is being evaluated

For more information, visit Grants.gov.

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