Idaho National Laboratory site permit issued for SMR project

19 February 2016

The US Department of Energy has agreed to grant a permit to support a small modular reactor project within the boundary of its Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site. In a statement yesterday, the DOE said its newly signed agreement with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) builds on President Barack Obama's plan "to advance America's leadership in clean energy innovation".

The site use permit allows UAMPS to access the INL site to analyse environmental, safety, and siting conditions. UAMPS is working to identify potential locations that may be suitable for building the UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) "for further characterization and analysis", the DOE said.

"If UAMPS identifies a suitable area within the INL site boundary for development of the CFPP, and if the Energy Department determines that the use of such site would not conflict with INL mission work, the design, construction, operation, and eventual decommissioning of an SMR at the selected site would be licensed and inspected by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, following extensive safety and environmental reviews," the DOE said.

The CFPP is "a commercial venture on a federal compound", the DOE said, and the successful deployment of a SMR design "would provide US utilities with a greater range of nuclear energy options" to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases.

It added that SMRs "feature compact, scalable designs that are expected to offer a host of safety, construction and economic benefits, and could potentially supply low-carbon baseload energy to small electric grids and locations that cannot support larger reactors."

The SMR design for the CFPP is being provided by NuScale Power of Portland, Oregon. Engineered with passive safety features, the 50 MWe NuScale Power Module provides power in increments that can be scaled to 600 MWe (gross) in a single facility, the company says on its website.

UAMPS describes itself as "a political subdivision of the State of Utah that provides comprehensive wholesale electricity on a not-for-profit basis, to community-owned power systems throughout the Intermountain West." Its membership represents 45 members from Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.

In his final State of the Union address last month, Obama said that tackling climate change is an "urgent challenge", adding, "We've got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News