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UAMPS responds to UTA Small Reactor Project concerns

Artist rendering of SMR Project in Idaho

UPDATE: The UAMPS organization has issued a detailed response to the UTA allegations. It argues that while some unexpected costs have gone up, the overall projected cost of power to ratepayers has gone down.

UAMPS is convinced the SMR technology is not risky and the new developments inherent in the project will result in long-term savings for ratepayers.

And, the utility group said its members have not made a final decision or commitment to build the project. If it does not meet target levels in future phases, the project will simply not be built.

You can read UAMPS detailed response here.

Original Story:

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KIFI/KIDK) - The Utah Taxpayers Association (UTA) to open a “process of public scrutiny” into the NuScale Small Reactor Project being planned at the Idaho National Laboratory.

The association claims ratepayers in 34 municipalities in Utah, Idaho, New Mexico and California could be on the hook for $100-million in commitments and billions of dollars in risks later on if they don’t pull out of the “Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems” by September 14.

The city of Idaho Falls and Department of Energy are also partners in the project.

The group claims NuScale has repeatedly delayed and increased costs with its small reactor projects. The Taxpayers Association is calling on elected officials to disclose all relevant information to the public so that decisions can be made in the open and “city officials can be held accountable.”

Further, they say that no municipality has conducted its own financial evaluation of the project and is relying on NuScale to do its own independent financial evaluation.

Among its concerns, the UTA cites rapidly escalating construction costs, missed deadlines, low-balled energy prices, and dependence on unpredictable federal subsidies.

In a news release, the UTA claims, “committing a municipal government to a long-term contract of this magnitude could result in massive sunk costs and higher rates and taxes on citizens.”

UTA is calling on participating cities to hold an open, public vote on whether to proceed with the next phase of the project, scheduled to begin September 14.

The following organizations are part of the UAMPS project:
Utah (Beaver City, Blanding, Bountiful, Brigham City, Enterprise, Ephraim City, Fairview City, Fillmore City, Heber City Light & Power, Holden Town, Hurricane City, Hyrum City, Kanosh Town, Kaysville City, Lehi, Logan City, Monroe City, Morgan City, Mt. Pleasant City, Murray City, Oak City, Paragonah Town, Parowan, Payson City, Santa Clara City, South Utah Valley Electric Service District, Spring City, Washington City, and Weber Basin Conservancy District); 

Idaho (Idaho Falls Power and Salmon River Electric Cooperative, Inc.); 

California (Lassen Municipal Utility District and Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative); and 

New Mexico (Los Alamos County).

The total size of the subscriptions is 160.4 megawatts, with 133.4 megawatts going to the state of Utah.

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