Utah Abandons Plan for Nuclear Power Plant in Idaho

(RightWing.org) – Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) provides wholesale electrical energy to community-operated power systems throughout several states in the Intermountain West. The company recently announced that it would abandon plans to build nuclear reactors in neighboring Idaho.

On November 8, UAMPS issued a press release announcing its decision, in coordination with NuScale Power, to terminate their joint Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP). The statement explained that despite the best efforts of both parties, it appeared “unlikely” the CFPP would attract enough subscribers to “continue toward deployment.”

UAMPS General Manager and CEO Mason Baker conceded that the decision to abandon the project was “very disappointing given the years of efforts put into the CFPP by the power provider’s member communities, the US Department of Energy, NuScale, and his company.

Launched in 2014, the ambitious project aimed to build a nuclear plant — comprised of several reactors — at the Idaho National Laboratory, located a few miles outside of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The plant was slated to operate six 77-megawatt NuScale Power Modules capable of generating approximately 462 megawatts of power upon completion. CFPP officials planned to have the first module online and fully operational in 2029, with the remaining five installed the following year.

UAMPS planned to use those modules to provide it the flexibility to increase and decrease its electrical output as needed to “follow load and complement” intermittent renewable power sources like rooftop solar and wind. Likewise, the project employed a long-term strategy to replace coal-fired power plants as part of an effort to reduce carbon emissions.

While it might seem improbable that Idaho would want to build a nuclear power station for another state’s use, the Idaho National Laboratory has a long-standing history of entering into joint projects with the federal government and Utah.

For example, the lab has partnered with the US Army on a renewable energy project since 2015 and another involving creating a network of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles in Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. It also has multiple projects in the works with the University of Utah.

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