DOE, UAMPS and Battelle Energy Alliance enter SMR-related MOU

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy on Dec. 21 announced a Memorandum of Understanding between the DOE, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems and Battelle Energy Alliance related to the use of two modules at a 12-module small modular reactor (SMR) that will be built at the DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory under UAMPS’ Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP).

UAMPS, a public power agency that provides electricity at wholesale to more than 40 community-owned electric utilities in the Intermountain West, is working with NuScale Power on a project that involves the installation of 12 SMRs in Idaho. The first commercial 12-module NuScale power plant is planned to be built on the site of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

In a news release, the Office of Nuclear Energy said the MOU highlights the DOE’s intent to draw from two modules of the twelve-module SMR plant.

One module will be designated strictly for research activities -- referred to as the Joint Use Modular Plant or JUMP program. The research is expected to focus principally on integrated energy systems that support the production of both electricity and non-electric energy products.

Battelle Energy Alliance and UAMPS intend to sign an agreement to use one of the NuScale Power Modules for INL research, development, and demonstration activities under the JUMP program.  

Battelle Energy Alliance manages INL for the DOE.

The other module may be used in a power purchase agreement to provide power to INL. The news release noted that the DOE and UAMPS intend to work together to engage the local utility, Idaho Power, regarding the supply of power produced by the project to support INL’s energy needs. INL will need up to 70 megawatts of power in the 2025-2030 timeframe.

“UAMPS is pleased to partner with the U.S. Department of Energy and Idaho National Laboratory in this Memorandum of Understanding,” said Doug Hunter, CEO and General Manager of UAMPS. “We appreciate the confidence and support of the DOE and INL represented by this MOU,” he said.

“We are pleased to provide one reactor module of the CFPP to supply reliable, resilient electrical energy for INL’s future energy needs. Reserving a second small reactor module for research and development will allow INL to do what it does best – conduct world-leading research and innovation leading to abundant, carbon-free energy,” Hunter said.

UAMPS in 2016 took a step forward in the development of its CFPP by identifying a preferred site within the boundary of the INL site near Idaho Falls, Idaho. The site selection process was conducted in collaboration with the DOE. Another public power entity, Energy Northwest, has the option to operate the SMR plant.

SMRs are one of three elements of the CFPP. Distributed generation and energy efficiency are the other key prongs.

Additional information about the CFPP is available here.