US Revives Old Nuclear Sites with Solar Power

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has embarked on a groundbreaking initiative to repurpose old nuclear weapons sites into solar farms, starting with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) nuclear site in Idaho Falls. The plan is to generate 400 megawatts (MW) of solar power, enough to supply electricity to 400,000 homes. This marks the inaugural projects under the DOE’s Cleanup to Clean Energy program, aimed at transforming former nuclear program sites into renewable energy facilities.


The DOE is in talks with developers NorthRenew Energy Partners and Spitfire to construct solar farms on the INL site. NorthRenew Energy is expected to build a 300 MW solar farm with battery storage on 2,000 acres, while Spitfire plans a 100 MW solar farm also equipped with battery storage on 500 acres. These initiatives signify a significant shift from nuclear deterrence to eco-friendly energy solutions on federal lands.

Why Does It Matter?

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm emphasized the importance of repurposing land from nuclear programs to drive clean energy advancements and combat climate change. This innovative approach not only promotes environmental sustainability but also enhances the nation’s energy independence. The collaboration between the government, private sector, and local communities underscores a collective effort towards a greener future.

How Is It Going to Shape the Future?

Moving forward, the DOE plans to release requests for qualifications (RFQs) to lease land at four more sites for similar renewable energy projects: Hanford in Washington, Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, Nevada National Security Site in Nevada, and Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The expansion of these initiatives signals a promising trajectory towards increasing renewable energy capacity and reducing reliance on traditional energy sources.

In conclusion, the integration of solar power on former nuclear sites not only signifies a remarkable shift towards sustainable energy but also demonstrates a strategic approach to repurposing federal lands for the benefit of both the environment and the community. The DOE’s endeavors pave the way for a cleaner, greener future driven by innovative clean energy solutions.