The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has initiated efforts to solicit developers for a commercial solar project to be erected on federal lands in Nevada, formerly utilized as nuclear test sites from the 1950s to the 1990s.
The DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration closed the request for information for the project at the Nevada Nuclear Security Site on January 12, having received six responses from interested developers. Subsequently, the agency announced plans to issue a request for qualifications to identify suitable candidates for the project.
Last July, the DOE unveiled its proposal to utilize lands owned by the agency across five states, including the Hanford Site in Washington state, for the development of the largest U.S. solar power site and other clean energy projects. These lands were historically utilized for the production of plutonium and uranium for atomic bombs under the Manhattan Project.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has reiterated the safety and cleanliness of the sites cleared for renewable power development, emphasizing that they are “completely clean.” While the atomic tests conducted at the Nevada site in Nye County primarily occurred underground, distant mushroom clouds were observable in Las Vegas during above-ground tests.
Approximately 2,000 acres of contiguous land at the Nevada site have been identified by the NNSA and DOE for potential utilization in photovoltaic or concentrating solar projects, alongside power storage facilities.