Nuclear project considered by Utah city power agencies

JaNae Francis – Standard Examiner

Northern Utah cities that run their own electric utilities are thinking about going nuclear.

Bountiful, Kaysville, Morgan and Brigham City are considering participation in a nuclear energy project proposed to be built near Idaho Falls at the Idaho National Laboratory. The project would be a joint venture with other municipal power suppliers that are part of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems.

UAMPS is a consortium of 44 utilities in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho, California,
 Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming. Twenty-nine of those are looking at participating in a feasibility study of the project, a UAMPS official said Thursday. All participants would receive matching funds from the U.S. Department of Energy to help pay for the investigation.

The study is part of the
 Carbon Free Power Project, formed by UAMPS to encourage the deployment of clean electric power in response to the anticipated closure
 of coal plants nationally.

The Bountiful City Council six weeks ago voted to commit $200,000 to the study and Kaysville decided Tuesday, Sept. 1, it will set aside $148,000. Brigham City and Morgan officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.

“Nuclear has had a bad name over the years,” said Allen Johnson, an official with Bountiful’s power department, mentioning calamities such as the Fukushima catastrophe in Japan.

But he said the new technology being considered for the Idaho project is hoped to be much safer. The study will consider building 12 small modular reactors, a new design for nuclear power.  (…)

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