Environment & Public Lands
2:32 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Western States Endorse Plan for Mini-Nuclear Plant

  Several Western states are involved in an initiative to study small-scale nuclear power plants. The first of this new generation of nuclear reactors could be built in Idaho.

Oregon-based NuScale Power has been developing its design for a 47-megawatt power plant that would not need extra water, electricity or even human intervention to stay safe in an emergency.  Now it hopes to build one at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls.

The project has the endorsement of Utah’s Energy Development Office and UAMPS, the Utah Association of Municipal Power Systems.  But Ted Rampton with UAMPS says it won’t cost ratepayers any money just yet.

“The UAMPS involvement in this project is basically an investigation at the present time," Rampton told a conference call with reporters.  "There are no immediate dollars that will be spent by our member utilities until the project becomes more defined later on in the future.”

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission would have to certify the plant design and grant a license before it could be built.  If all goes well, its backers say the plant could be in operation by 2023.

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