Yesterday, February 17, 2016 Rick Provencher and Doug Hunter signed an agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and UAMPS (Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems). It provides UAMPS with a use permit to choose a suitable nuclear power plant site within the more than 900 square miles of Idaho high desert within the INL (Idaho National Laboratory) site boundaries.
UAMPS plans to build and operate the lead NuScale power plant. That plant will produce 600 MWe gross with a house load of 30 MWe providing a net of 570 MWe of clean nuclear electricity to the northwest U.S. power grid.
The 110 year agreement period includes 10 years of licensing, site preparation and plant construction followed by 99 years of plant operation and retirement.
The specific plant location has not yet been selected. During the past year, Enercon has been conducting site surveys conducted during under contract to UAMPS. They have recommended a short list of five locations for more detailed analysis and final site selection.
This is a really big deal and demonstrates how partnerships between private industry, local governments, state governments and the federal government can result in real progress towards improving our electric power supply system.
There are numerous additional partnerships that could build on foundation that is being established by this lead project.
Constant frequency, steady voltage, consistent power factor electricity that is available 60 minutes/hour, 8760 hours/year is the grease that enabled our modern economy to function smoothly. There are many ways to produce electricity, but there are few ways to produce a product that is as clean, reliable and controllable as the high quality product coming from well-designed nuclear reactors.
Congratulations to NuScale, UAMPS, the Department of Energy and all of the various suppliers and players involved in this major step forward.
Update: For those interested in details, here is a copy of the DOE-UPAMS use permit agreement.