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Big changes could be coming to INL

Some big changes could be coming to the Idaho National Lab. The director, Mark Peters, spoke at Pocatello’s Rotary Club luncheon on Thursday.

Peters talked about a few big projects the INL is currently working to bring to its site.

One project deals with a national municipal utilities company. The company is based in Oregon, but has a location in Salt Lake City. New Scale, the company, is looking to build a utilities plant in Idaho. INL is submitting a proposal for the company to build on INL’s site. If the company accepts the offer and builds, it would be a first-of-its-kind plant in Idaho. The construction would also add several jobs to the region.

The lab is also working on expanding. It’s planning two new buildings on its Idaho Falls campus. One building would focus on more cybersecurity research and protection. The other building would focus on high-performance computing.

Peters said both buildings will bring a lot of connections, work, and research cooperation with Idaho State University. Peters said the reason behind the push for expansion is because of growth.

“We need space,” Peters said. “We’re growing and in these programs, we’re running out of space. So we’ve got great space, but we need more and also the space needs to be a little bit different, more collaborative and interactive space.”

The buildings would cost an estimated $85 million. The property planned for the buildings is currently owned by the Idaho State Board of Education. Both the board of education and Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission are behind the proposal.

Before INL can move forward, the buildings must be approved by the state legislature at its next session. If approved, construction could begin and the buildings could be complete by 2018 or 2019.

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