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Nuclear industry takes a step forward

The Nuclear industry is taking a step toward the future thanks to the Department of Energy. The department has given NuScale Power more than $200 million in grant money for a smaller, more efficient nuclear reactor.

The Idaho National Laboratory has been instrumental on the move toward cleaner energy, which includes supplying a site for the new plant when design has been completed. The company’s Chief Operations Officer, Mike McGough, said the facility won’t be a traditional one.

“We don’t have all of those vessels and pumps and motors and valves to make our plant work. We rely on three things: convection, conduction, and gravity through natural a circulation process of water and heat,” he said.

McGough says as long as these three things work, the plant will always operate safely and always safely shut down.

There has to be stakeholders with anything this innovative, like the Utah Associated Municipal Power System, which includes Idaho Falls Power. General manager Jackie Flowers said the power company is always looking to advance its research and development.

“We believe we’ve got great expertise in Idaho Falls to be a part of any conversation of deployment of this new technology. We look forward to continuing to understand what role we can play in investigating, monitoring and developing small reactors,” said Flowers.

Grow Idaho Falls Inc. CEO, Linda Martin, believes this will also be great for Idaho’s economy.

“It’s a great opportunity, not just for Idaho Falls, but all of eastern Idaho. There are opportunities for the lab and there are commercial opportunities,” said Martin.

Once NuScale has passed their designing phase and are ready to build a facility, they estimate around 1,000 jobs will be added to east Idaho’s workforce. The company estimates completion of the new reactor along with a facility by 2023.

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