In the Mix: Testing Small Modular Reactors as a Future Energy Source

At the Council’s June power committee meeting, Senior Policy Analyst Gillian Charles reviewed the primary generating resource reference plants developed for inclusion in the draft 2021 Power Plan and presented the proposed emerging technology reference plant that will be included as a resource option in the plan’s scenario analysis. A reference plant describes a resource technology and includes estimates of typical costs, logistics, operating specifications, and development potential.

The emerging technology reference plant, which could help to decarbonize the region’s power system, will compete against primary resources and additional energy efficiency potential.

The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, a political subdivision of the state of Utah providing energy services to power systems in the West, is investigating the possibility of building a Small Modular Nuclear Reactor plant using technology provided by NuScale Power.

The UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project is a 720-megawatt power plant located in the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory reservation near Idaho Falls. The DOE is a partner in the project, providing support and cost-sharing. Currently, 35 UAMPS members have executed long-term sales agreements for 213 megawatts. The planned commercial operation date for the first module is in 2026 and the estimated completion of the plant is in 2028.

Council staff is working with NuScale and Energy Northwest to refine additional information used in the Council’s modeling. Modeling inputs will be discussed at a future System Analysis Advisory Committee meeting, so stay tuned.