Advancing Nuclear Safety, Security and Nonproliferation through the FIRST Program

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.

General Information

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...
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