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Idaho Falls endorses SMR project

SMR PROJECT DESIGN INL
INL
Artist rendering of SMR Project in Idaho

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-Idaho Falls has reaffirmed its commitment to the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) project and the development of other reliable, carbon-free nuclear power generation.  

The City Council last night voted to support the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) and reaffirmed Idaho Falls Power’s support for the CFPP as it enters the next phase of development.

The utility’s updated resource forecast indicates the city’s need for power from the project is now approximately 5,000 kW.  The estimate is based on customer load and forecast data.

We are fortunate not to have retiring coal plants. This clearly shows in our limited need for baseload power like the SMR. But we are committed to continuing to explore projects that cost effectively diversify our carbon free energy portfolio,” said Bear Prairie, General Manager of Idaho Falls Power. “Our financial support in excess of our actual energy needs will help this project move into the next phase of development which helps the electric industry understand production options in the future.”

The City Council resolution cited a number of reasons to move forward with the project.  Beyond the need for reliable, carbon-free power, it cited the positive economic impacts the SMR would have on jobs and growth in eastern Idaho.

Mayor Rebecca Casper said she believes City Council members had a high level of understanding about the risks and opportunities of the project.

“Unlike other utility power resource decisions, this project brings with it lots of opportunity for the region’s economy,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper.  “Our own INL, the nation’s lead nuclear laboratory as well as the Department of Energy (DOE) is very excited to see this project advance. SMRs and other advanced nuclear technology will surely play a key role in linking our fossil fuel-addicted energy economy to a more sustainable future energy economy—one based on renewables and utility-scale storage.  It is great to be on the path to the future.”

Idaho Falls Power is a member of the Utah Association of Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), which is developing the CFPP.  The resolution states, “IFP understands that further development of local, non-carbon emitting energy generation will increase the region’s reliability, promote community stability and provide economic opportunities for the development of construction projects, commerce and industries.”  

The Department of Energy recently granted $1.4 billion in funding for the project.  The government’s investment will provide electricity as well as an opportunity to research commercial power production in the west.

NuScale Power will build the project at the Idaho National Laboratory.  It is expected to provide 720 megawatts of power and be operational by 2029.  

UAMPS must make final decisions on whether or not to proceed with the project by October 31.

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